Eddie Higgins

Don't Smoke in Bed

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Eddie Higgins has long been a part of the American jazz scene, though he has tended to be overlooked by critics and to a certain extent, record labels in his homeland. But the cagey veteran knows his way around the piano and makes swinging seem effortless, as on these 2000 sessions. Fortunately, the Japanese Venus label has found a steady market for Higgins' CDs in Japan, where he has had many opportunities to record as a leader. This disc is a trio affair with guitarist John Pizzarelli and bassist Jay Leonhart, both accomplished musicians as well. Beginning with a strutting take of "Close Your Eyes," which brings a fresh sound to this old chestnut, it is clear right away that the chemistry among the players is just right. Duke Ellington's lush ballad "I Didn't Know About You" seemed like it was destined to be overlooked, but Higgins is one of many who have offered shimmering treatments of this lyrical gem. The pianist contributed one original, "Brown-Eyed Beauty," which has a George Shearing-like flavor; one can almost imagine Shearing's quintet playing this lovely piece back in the 1960s. The CD is full of standards and forgotten gems that are equally appealing.

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