Billy Higgins


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Bridgework Review

by Scott Yanow

This LP features drummer Billy Higgins in a rare leadership role at two unrelated sessions separated by six years. The three titles from 1980 match Higgins with the underrated (and generally underrecorded) but talented tenor James Clay, pianist Cedar Walton and bassist Tony Dumas; they perform Thelonious Monk's "Evidence," a standard, and a Walton tune. The equally rewarding later set (cut in 1986) has Higgins, Walton, tenor saxophonist Harold Land, and bassist Buster Williams playing three group originals and a nearly 11-minute rendition of "I Hear a Rhapsody." The music overall is excellent hard bop with some strong moments but no major surprises.

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