Eddie Higgins Quintet / Eddie Higgins

It's Magic

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Eddie Higgins has been an active jazz musician since the late '50s, though he has developed an especially strong following in Japan, resulting in numerous opportunities to record for Japanese jazz labels. This single-disc set features the bandleader with tenor saxophonists Scott Hamilton and Ken Peplowski, along with bassist Jay Leonhart and drummer Ben Riley. The primary focus is on slow, lush interpretations of ballads, with Hamilton having more of a straight-ahead approach when compared to Peplowski's more personal, conversational style. Exceptions include the snappy, swinging take of "I Never Knew," a breezy arrangement with Peplowski's gritty solo taking top honors, and the driving explorations of "Autumn Leaves." Peplowski switches to clarinet for part of the session, especially the gorgeous take of "Mood Indigo." Throughout the date, Higgins' engaging piano seems effortless, as the songs have likely long been a part of his repertoire.

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