PAUL HIGGS - PAVANE- ALBUM REVIEW
Paul Higgs has made a name for himself in Great Britain as a leading trumpet player, but also as a pianist, multi-instrumentalist, composer, arranger and producer. He has recorded albums by himself and with others, joined the National Youth Jazz Orchestra for a decade, produced CDs, played onstage with acts from Peggy lee to Nancy Wilson, performed music in shows by the Royal Shakespeare Company, made music for UK television shows and movies, and, mostly importantly, served for many years as the Musical Director for the National Theatre of Great Britain. On his latest album, Pavane, Higgs brings together all of these diverse influences to create a wonderful CD full of warm melodies, grandeur, deep feelings and soothing mellowness. He wrote and produced all the music.
The focus on his trumpet gives the music a bit of jazziness, and he is joined by acoustic bassist Jerome Davies, and drummers/percussionists Graham Cuttill and Russ Morgan. But Higgs also plays the piano himself on each track and brings in cellist/violist Helen Yousaf and classical guitarist Andy Watson which gives the music some classical flavor. So on a tune like “Crystalline,” the group sounds sort of jazzy. On “Parisienne Affair” there is a definite thetre-like air to the proceedings. On “A Simple Truth” Higgs goes all Sondheim on us by even recalling a touch of “Send in the Clowns” in the middle of the tune. With “Pavane” Higgs is channeling classical composers such as Ravel and Faure. There is some nice viola work in “Salvation” and “Catalonia” (which also features the acoustic guitar, a muted trumpet and some castanet percussion). The slowly-played “The Glow of the Evening” has some faint synth strings that lend it the feeling of a new age music track. The entire album is fairly quiet, mostly unhurried, but very melodic and luxurious instrumental, just the right thing to listen to after a hard day at work. You owe it to yourself. Use a search engine online to find his dot com, some places to sample the music, and sales sites where the music is offered.