|Birth name||Hayden Higgins|
|Born||February 21, 1932|
Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||August 31, 2009 (aged 77)|
Fort Lauderdale, Florida, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, arranger, singer|
|Associated acts||Joe Ascione, Jay Leonhart, Meredith D'Ambrosio|
Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, United States, 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 reflective ballads, providing the tone and stylistic flavor of each style, both as soloist and 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 jazz stars of this period, including Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, 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. Higgins spent his time at the London House Restaurant with bassist Richard Evans and drummer Marshall Thompson. Higgins 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 Hawkins to Sonny Stitt to Wayne Shorter; trumpeters Bobby Lewis to Harry Edison to Lee Morgan and 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. Although he opted to decline the offer, Higgins was asked at one point by Art Blakey to join the seminal hard bop quintet, The Jazz Messengers.
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 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. After that, Higgins played his music mainly in East Asia including Japan and South Korea. During his career in East Asia, Higgins formed a successful trio with Joe Ascione (drums), and Jay Leonhart (bass).
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, but were suspended due to a long illness.
Higgins died of lung and lymphatic cancer in Fort Lauderdale at the age of 77.
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. Higgins was at home playing melodies with swing-like feeling. His melodies had groove and swing-feeling without being superfluous. Such swing-feeling of Eddie Higgins was also often compared to those of Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole.
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.
|1957||The Ed Higgins Trio||Replica||Trio, with Dave Poskonka (bass), Jack Noren (drums)|
|1960||Eddie Higgins||Vee-Jay||Some tracks trio with Jim Atlas (bass), Marshall Thompson (drums); some tracks quintet, with Paul Serrano (trumpet), Frank Foster (tenor sax) added; some tracks trio with Richard Evans (bass), Thompson (drums)|
|1965||Soulero||Atlantic||Trio, with Richard Evans (bass) Marshall Thompson (drums)|
|1966||The Piano of Eddie Higgins||Atlantic||Some tracks trio; some tracks with orchestra|
|1967||Music from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang||Tower||Trio, with Richard Evans (bass), Marshall Thompson (drums)|
|1979||My Time of Day||Claremont||Trio, with John Bany (bass), Marshall Thompson (drums) Recorded October 24 & 25, 1978. Reissued as In Chicago (1995)|
|1979||Dream Dancing||Claremont||Trio, with John Bany (bass), Marshall Thompson (drums) Recorded October 24 & 25, 1978 Reissued as In Chicago (1995)|
|1980||Sweet Lorraine||EMI||Trio, with Osamu Kawakami (bass), Jimmy Takeuchi (drums)|
|1982||Once in a While||Spinnster||Most tracks sextet, with Pete Minger (flugelhorn), John Swan (flugelhorn, trumpet), Bill Prince (flugelhorn, trumpet, tenor sax), Lew Berryman (bass), Norman "Red" Hawley (drums); one track septet, with Nancy Weckwerth (French horn) added; in concert|
|1986||By Request||Solo Art||Trio, with Milt Hinton (bass), Bobby Rosengarden (drums)|
|1990||Those Quiet Days||Sunnyside||Trio, with Kevin Eubanks (guitar), Rufus Reid (bass)|
|1992||By Request||Solo Art||Solo piano|
|1994||Zoot's Hymns||Sunnyside||Quartet, with John Doughten (tenor sax), Phil Flanigan (bass), Danny Burger (drums)|
|1996||Portrait in Black and White||Sunnyside||Trio, with Don Wilner (bass), James Martin (drums)|
|1997||Haunted Heart||Sunnyside||Trio, with Ray Drummond (bass), Ben Riley (drums)|
|1998||Speaking to Jobim||Sunnyside||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Terry Clarke (drums)|
|1998||Again||Venus||Trio, with Ray Drummond (bass), Ben Riley (drums)|
|1999||Time on My Hands||Arbors||Solo piano|
|2000||Don't Smoke in Bed||Venus||Trio, with John Pizzarelli (guitar), Jay Leonhart (bass)|
|2001||Bewitched||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2001||Smoke Gets in Your Eyes||Venus||Quartet, with Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2002||Dear Old Stockholm||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2002||My Foolish Heart||Venus||Quartet, with Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2003||You Don't Know What Love Is||Venus||Solo piano|
|2003||Moonlight Becomes You||Venus||With Joe Locke (vibes) Joe Cohn (guitar), Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums); plus strings|
|2004||If Dreams Come True||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2004||Christmas Songs||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2004||My Funny Valentine||Venus||Quartet, with Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2005||Amor||Venus||Trio, with Sean Smith (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2006||Christmas Songs 2||Venus||Most tracks trio, with George Mraz (bass), Ben Riley(drums); two tracks quartet, with Scott Hamilton (tenor sax) added|
|2006||A Fine Romance||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Mark Taylor (drums)|
|2006||A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Mark Taylor (drums)|
|2006||Secret Love||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Mark Taylor (drums)|
|2006||You Are Too Beautiful||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Mark Taylor (drums)|
|2006||It's Magic||Venus||With Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Ken Peplowski (tenor sax, clarinet), Jay Leonhart (bass), Ben Riley (drums)|
|2008||A Handful of Stars||Venus||With Scott Hamilton (tenor sax), Ken Peplowski (tenor sax, clarinet), Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
|2008||Standards By Request 1st Day||Venus||Solo piano|
|2008||Standards By Request 2nd Day||Venus||Solo piano|
|2008||Portraits of Love||Venus||Trio, with Jay Leonhart (bass), Joe Ascione (drums)|
- Relaxin' at the Lounge (Venus)
- Standard Higgins (Venus)
- Ballad Higgins (Venus)
- Tenderly: The Best of Eddie Higgins (Venus)
With Meredith d'Ambrosio
- 1989 South to a Warmer Place
- 1991 Love Is Not a Game
- 1993 Shadowland
- 1995 Beware of Spring!
- 2001 Love Is for the Birds
With Wayne Shorter
- 1962 Wayning Moments
- 2002 All or Nothing at All
- 2013 Beginnings
With Lee Morgan
- 1960 Expoobident
- 2002 Just in Time
With Sonny Stitt
- 2000 Sonny, Sweets, and Jaws: Live at Bubba's
- 2001 No Greater Love
- 2004 Just Friends: Live at Bubba's Jazz Restaurant 1981
With Warren Vaché
- 1999 Mrs. Vache's Boys
- 2007 Remember
With Chuck Hedges
- 1992 No Greater Love
- 2001 Just for Fun
- 1957 This Is Lucy Reed, Lucy Reed
- 1959 Touff Assignment, Cy Touff
- 1961 Brilliant, Don Goldie
- 1961 The Thinking Man’s Trombone Al Grey
- 1963 Sextet in Person, Jack Teagarden
- 1985 The Great Fontana, Carl Fontana
- 1992 The Wonderful World of George Gershwin, George Masso
- 1996 A Time for Love, John Doughten
- 1996 Stolen Goods, Betty Dickson
- 1997 Double Rainbow, Rebecca Parris
- 1999 Great Duets, Jay Leonhart
- 2001 Indian Summer, Greg Fishman
- 2005 Hot & Blue Vol. 1–2, Bill Allred
- 2016 One Night in Indy, Wes Montgomery
- "Eddie Higgins | Biography & History". AllMusic. Retrieved February 16, 2020.
- "Eddie Higgins Discography". Jazzdisco.org. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
- "Eddie Higgins Discography 1956–2008". Jazzdiscography.com. January 9, 2009. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
- "Eddie Higgins | Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 31 December 2016.