Billy Higgins

Once More

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Although released on CD in 1995, this is one of drummer Billy Higgins' earliest sessions as a leader, recorded in 1980. Leading a quartet including Cedar Walton, Bob Berg, and bassist Tony Dumas, he steps to the forefront with an explosive solo in the midst of Walton's hard bop vehicle "Plexus," while he sticks to brushes (until Berg returns) in the rendition of "Lover Man," which showcases the rest of the band. The quartet takes Antonio Carlos Jobim's "Sabiá" away from its bossa nova roots, offering a driving post-bop arrangement. Berg contributed "Amazon," an infectious tune built upon a simple riff that opens with Higgins alone. The tense introduction to the bittersweet Brazilian ballad "Estate" sets up Berg's heartfelt solo, backed by Walton's thoughtful piano and Higgins' whispering brushes. Recommended.

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