Eddie Higgins

Time on My Hands: Arbors Piano Series, Vol. 6

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That Higgins is a virtuoso pianist is not in question; in fact, his group works with Wayne Shorter, Eddie Harris, trio sessions, and duets with wife Meredith D'Ambrosio are all solid prior examples of his substantial talent. This is his first all solo piano disc, and it's a beaut. Though well versed in bop, modern mainstream, and Swing-era styles, Higgins is a very competent stride pianist, albeit on the lighter side. Proof positive is offered during several of the 14 tracks, including "Can't Get out of This Mood," "You and the Night and the Music," "You Turned the Tables on Me," "A Sleepin' Bee," and "Nina Never Knew." He's also a pure ballad interpreter on "Ruby," "Say It Isn't So," "Stairway to the Stars," and, especially, the lengthy and languid "A Handful of Stars." One would hope Higgins, capable as he is, would crank it up a bit, and he does during the bulk of the bouncy tune "A Blues Serenade." In essence he's a great swinger as that rhythm buoys witty piano lines on the relaxed "I Hadn't Anyone 'Til You," the patient "Lucky to Be Me," or deliberate waltz "Zigeuner." Higgins changes speeds effectively on a "time" medley featuring the even-keeled "I Didn't Know What Time It Was," the down-trodden "Time Was," and the uppity, hopeful title track. Here's a thought not widely echoed but always implied: Eddie Higgins is one of the great jazz pianists of the last 50 years, and all the evidence you need is on this marvelous CD. Highly recommended.

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