A good horn man is worth his weight in gold. Paul Higgs has been around the block. This British musician has an impressive range of music, theatrical, and film experiences that boost him into the ranks of trumpeter emeritus.
“Pavane” features all-original compositions by Higgs. The overall genre is adult contemporary jazz, but there are distinct neo-classical influences. The sensibility is a gentle musical expression of emotions – reflective, melancholy, hopeful, yearning, romantic, and wistful. Higgs works with a group of top-flight musicians that back him up with consummate skill and allow him to focus all of his gifts on delivering perfect, lush trumpet lines. He also plays the piano on this CD.
Track 4: Parisienne Affair is a treat. It features the stately pulses of a classical dance form, but with the melodic and chordal pathos of a heart-tugging French love song. It’s one of the loveliest offerings on the album. I also adored Track 5: Catalonia, which features gorgeous Latino rhythms and guitar work. Yum. Only a couple of songs on the CD are overtly upbeat – the opening track “Crystalline” and Track 7: Clocks. Track 10: Shadows and Desires moves into a slow, funky mode. It takes the listener back to old George Benson recordings.
Higgs makes it seem effortless, but his trumpet skills are totally sweet and modulated with great control. He takes listeners along with him through sheer artistry; the notes of each melody are a trail of bread crumbs to musical satisfaction. This CD gets top marks in all of my super-picky music snob criteria categories, including the engineering mix. My only mini-whine is that I wish it was longer!
Being a grown-up mostly sucks. “Pavane” is the best reason I’ve seen all week for being old enough to enjoy adult-contemporary jazz. This ain’t for the kiddie crew – they’re welcome to their hippity-hop and rap-crap. Save this exclusive musical merlot for the folks who pay the bills! Sip a glass of fine wine, relax, and do adult things (maybe with a willing partner) while playing this CD. It’s a fine musical accompaniment to share during the twilight hours while the moon and stars roll in. Loving it!
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artist: Paul Higgs
Toucan Tango Music, 2013
11 tracks, 44 minutes
Available in CD form, and digital download at CDbaby, Amazon, iTunes, eMusic, Rhapsody and others.