Eddie Higgins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
For the baseball player, see Eddie Higgins (baseball).

Edward Haydn Higgins (February 21, 1932 - August 31, 2009) was a jazz pianist, composer and orchestrator.[1]

Eddie Higgins
Birth name Hayden Higgins
Born (1932-02-21)February 21, 1932
Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States
Died August 31, 2009(2009-08-31) (aged 77)
Fort Lauderdale, United States
Genres Bebop, Traditional Jazz
Occupations Jazz Pianist
Instruments Piano
Vocals
Years active 1958–2009[2]
Associated acts Joe Ascione
Jay Leonhart

Biography[edit]

Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Higgins initially studied privately with his mother. He started his professional career in Chicago, Illinois, while studying at the Northwestern University School of Music. An elegant and sophisticated pianist, his encyclopedic harmonic approach and wide range of his repertory made him one of the most distinctive jazz pianists to come out of Chicago, gaining the respect of local and visiting musicians for his notable mastery of the instrument. Higgins also had the unusual ability to sound equally persuasive in a broad span of music, whether he was playing traditional swing, exciting bebop or reflexive ballads, providing the tone and stylistic flavor of each styles, as both a soloist and as accompanist.

For more than two decades Higgins worked at some of Chicago's most prestigious jazz clubs, including the Brass Rail, Preview Lounge, Blue Note, Cloister Inn and Jazz Ltd. His longest and most memorable tenure was at the long gone London House, where he led his jazz trio from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, playing opposite the greatest jazz stars of this period, including Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Oscar Peterson and George Shearing, among others. Later, Higgins said the opportunities to play jazz music with Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson were unforgettable moments. Eddie's time spent at the London House Restaurant was with two of the best sidemen that Chicago has produced, bassist Richard Evans and drummer Marshall Thompson. Thompson was a very articulate drummer and teacher as well as a recording performer. One particularly notable event that took place at the London House was Richard Evans introducing drummer Maurice White to jazz pianist Ramsey Lewis. After his stint with Ramsey, Maurice went on to form the renowned group Earth, Wind & Fire. At the time of this introduction, Maurice was a studio drummer at Chess Records. Eddie also worked for Chess records as a producer.

During his stay in Chicago, Higgins also recorded a significant number of albums under his auspices and many more as a sideman with a wide variety of musicians, ranging in style from tenor saxophonists Coleman Hawkins to Wayne Shorter; trumpeters Bobby Lewis to Freddie Hubbard, and trombonists Jack Teagarden to Al Grey. His versatility was captured on stage and records, backing up singers and leading his own projects as both pianist and orchestrator, working in every jazz circle from dixieland to modal styles.

In 1970, Higgins moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and began spending winters in Florida and summers on Cape Cod, where he played in local clubs. Since the early 1980s, he traveled widely on the jazz festival circuit and has performed frequently in Europe and Japan. His releases on the Japanese Venus label earned him number one in jazz sales on more than one album. Since then, Higgins played his music mainly in East Asia including Japan and South Korea and became sensationally famous. During his career in East Asia, Higgins formed a trio with Joe Ascione (Drums), Jay Leonhart (Bass), which is known as Eddie Higgins Trio

In 1988, Higgins and jazz singer and pianist Meredith d'Ambrosio were married and became a popular team at clubs and festivals, as well as recording for Sunnyside Records. In 2009, dates in Japan and Korea were on his calendar of upcoming concerts, which were suspended due to a long illness.

Higgins died in Fort Lauderdale at the age of 77.

Style[edit]

Eddie Higgins's delicate tone and conception were often compared to those of Bill Evans, one of the most influential and successful jazz pianists. He mostly played bop and mainstream jazz music throughout his career. Furthermore, Higgins was at playing melodies with swing-like feeling. His melodies had groove and swing-feeling without being too superfluous. Such swing-feeling of Eddie Higgins was also often compared to those of Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole.

Accomplishment[edit]

In 2009, Eddie Higgins received Jazz Disc Award from the most respected jazz magazine in Japan, Swing Journal. With his album, Portrait of Love, Higgins won the Best Album of the Year. In the same year, Higgins received another award from Best Engineering Album of the Year.

Discography[edit]

Notable recordings as a leader[edit]

  • 1958: Ed Higgins Trio (Replica Records)

Ed Higgins Trio was his debut album. He formed a trio and changed the songs of famous composers such as Duke Ellington, George Gershwin, and Cole Porter into his own style. Credits

Artist Credits
Harold Arlen Composer
George Bassman Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Dizzy Gillespie Composer
Irving Gordon Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Cole Porter Composer
  • 1960: Eddie Higgins (Collectables)

Credits

Artist Credits
Jim Atlas Bass
Richard Evans Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Frank Foster Guest Artist, Sax (Tenor)
Lorenz Hart Composer
Oscar Peterson Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Paul Serrano Trumpet
  • 1965: Soulero (Atlantic)

Pianist Eddie Higgins' third album as a leader and the album features his regular Chicago-based trio of the era, a group with bassist Richard Evans and drummer Marshall Thompson.

Credits

Artist Credits
Walter Donaldson Composer
Richard Evans Bass
Edward Heyman Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Marshall Thompson Drums
Victor Young Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
  • 1978: Dream Dancing (Claremont)

Credits

Artist Credits
John Bany Bass
George Bassman Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
DuBose Heyward Composer
Marshall Thompson Drums
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Cole Porter Composer
  • 1978: My Time of Day (Spinnster)

Credits

Artist Credits
John Bany Bass
Bix Beiderbecke Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Gene Lees Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Oscar Peterson Composer
  • 1982: Once In A While (Spinnster)

Highlight songs of the album include "St. Louis Blues," "A Hundred Years from Today," "Little Rock Getaway," "Indiana," and "Sweet Georgia Brown."

Credits

Artist Credits
Leroy Anderson Composer
Ben Bernie Composer
Cynthia Daniels Engineer
Carl Fischer Composer
Bob Haggart Composer
Edward Heyman Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
Joe Sullivan Composer
Fats Waller Composer
Herman Hupfeld Composer
Maceo Pinkard Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Ned Washington Composer
  • 1990: Those Quiet Days (Sunnyside) with Kevin Eubanks, Rufus Reid

Credits

Artist Credits
Clarence Gaskill Composer
Thelonious Monk Composer
Ogden Nash Engineer
Kurt Weill Composer
Michael Wilton Composer
Denny Zeitlin Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim Composer
Kevin Eubanks Composer
Rufus Reid Bass
Bed Powell Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
A.M. Brunner Composer
  • 1994: Zoot's Hymns (Sunnyside) with John Doughten, Phil Flanigan, Danny Burger

Credits

Artist Credits
Harold Arlen Composer
Danny Burger Drums
John Doughten Sax (Tenor)
Phil Flanigan Bass
Johnny Mercer Composer
Henry Nemo Composer
Einar A. Swan Composer
Eddie Higgins Piano, Primary Artist
Ned Washington Composer
  • 1995: In Chicago (Solo Art)

Credits

Artist Credits
John Bany Bass (Acoustic)
Bix Beiderbecke Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Dave Brubeck Composer
Oscar Peterson Composer
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Frank Loesser Composer
Marshall Thompson Composer
DuBose Heyward Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Cole Porter Composer
  • 1996: Portrait in Black and White (Sunnyside)

Credits

Artist Credits
Johann Sebastian Bach Composer
Chico Buarque Composer
Betty Comden Composer
Riley J. Connell Engineer
Meredith d'Ambrosio Cover Art
Adolph Green Composer
J. Green Composer
Antonio Carlos Jobim Composer
James Martin Drums
Don Wilner Bass
DuBose Heyward Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Jule Styne Composer
Joe Young Composer
Sergey Rachmaninov Composer
Cole Porter Composer
  • 1997: Haunted Heart (Sunnyside) with Ray Drummond, Ben Riley

Notable songs from the album is My Funny Valentine, Someone to Watch Over Me, I Should Care, and Lush Life

Credits

Artist Credits
Sammy Cahn Composer
Todd Barkan Producer
Howard Dietz Composer
Ray Drummond Bass
Meredith d'Ambrosio Cover Art
George Gershwin Composer
Ira Gershwin Composer
Troy Halderson Engineer
Tetsuo Hara Producer
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Sigmund Romberg Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Earl Zindars Composer
Oliver Nelson Composer
Ben Riley Drums
Lorenz Hart Composer
  • 1999: Time On My Hands (Arbors Records) solo

14 tracks, including "Can't Get out of This Mood," "You and the Night and the Music," "You Turned the Tables on Me," "A Sleepin' Bee," and "Nina Never Knew."

Credits

Artist Credits
Vincent Youmans Composer
Frank Signorelli Composer
Ted Sharpiro Composer
Arthur Schwartz Composer
Meredith d'Ambrosio Cover Art
Richard Rodgers Composer
Miguel Prado Composer
Mitchell Parish Composer
Sidney Mitchell Composer
Ray Noble Composer
Jimmy McHugh Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Earl Zindars Composer
Oliver Nelson Composer
Ben Riley Drums
Lorenz Hart Composer
  • 2001: Bewitched (Venus)

Through this album, Higgins started his musical career in Japan, and gained fame as the album became popular. Higgins hired Jay Leonhart as a bassist and Joe Ascione as a drummer. This trio played together until Higgins died in 2009.

Credits

Artist Credits
Joe Ascione Drums
Jay Leonhart Bass
Todd Barkan Producer
Alan Bergman Composer
Marilyn Bergman Composer
Earl Brent Composer
Lou Carter Composer
Jacques Demy Composer
Matt Dennis Composer
Herb Ellis Composer
John Freigo Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Haven Gillespie Composer
Sammy Fain Composer
Wayne King Composer
Victor Young Composer
  • 2002: Don't Smoke In Bed (Venus)

Credits

Artist Credits
John Pizzarelli Guitarist (Electric)
Jay Leonhart Bass
Todd Barkan Producer
Lew Brown Composer
Duke Ellington Composer
Johnny Mercer Composer
Bernice Petkere Composer
Willard Robinson Composer
Billy Strayhorn Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
  • 2002: Again (Japanese Import)

Credits

Artist Credits
Tom Adair Composer
Ray Drummond Bass
Todd Barkan Producer
Lew Brown Composer
Johnny Burke Composer
Dorcas Cochran Composer
Matt Dennis Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Gus Kahn Composer
Richard Rodgers Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Victor Young Composer
Frank Signorelli Composer
Lionel Newman Composer
Ned Washington Composer
  • 2003: You Don't Know What Love Is (Tokuma Records)

Credits

Artist Credits
Harold Arlen Composer
Hoagy Carmichael Bass
Lou Carter Producer
Betty Comden Composer
Eddie DeLange Composer
Dorcas Cochran Composer
Herb Ellis Composer
Johnny Frigo Composer
Haven Gillespie Composer
Lorenz Hart Composer
Eddie Higgins Primary Artist
Victor Young Composer
Jule Styne Composer
Richard Rogers Composer
Ned Washington Composer
  • 2005: If Dreams Come True (Tokuma Records)

Credits

Artist Credits
Joe Ascione Drums
Jay Leonhart Bass
Todd Barkan Producer
A. Dominguez Composer
W.C. Handy Composer
  • 2006: Amor (Venus)

Credits

Artist Credits
Jay Leonhart Bass
Joe Ascione Drum
A. Dominguez Composer
C. Fischer Composer
Cole Porter Composer
L. Oliveira Composer

As sideman[edit]

With Lee Morgan

With Sonny Stitt

  • Sonny's Last Recordings (Kingdom Jazz, 1981)
  • Sonny, Sweets & Jaws (Baystate)

With Wayne Shorter

Others

  • Meredith D'Ambrosio: Love Is Not A Game (Sunnyside, 1990); Shadowland (Sunnyside, 1992); Because Of Spring (Sunnyside, 1994)
  • Chuck Hedges Just For Fun (Arbors Records)
  • George Masso: The Wonderful World of George Gershwin (Nagel-Heyer, 1992)
  • Sandy Mosse: Relaxin´ With Sandy Mosse (Argo/Fresh Sound, 1956)
  • Cy Touff: Touff Assignement (Argo/Fresh Sound, 1958)

References[edit]

External links[edit]