Dave O’Higgins Quintet – Sketchbook

Our rating 
3.0 out of 5 star rating 3.0

COMPOSERS: Dave O’Higgens Quintet
LABELS: Jazzit Records
PERFORMER: Dave O’Higgins, Eric Alexander (sax), James Pearson (piano), Arnie Somogyi (bass), Kristian Leth (drums)
CATALOGUE NO: JITCD0950

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I’m rarely keen on the modern two-tenor frontline in a recorded context; all too often the constraints of the studio can exaggerate the players’ empathy to the point of homogeneity.

This happens here to an extent, but luckily – or maybe luck has nothing to do with it – this cleanly recorded material is strong enough to transcend this and make a virtue of the shared sound and mindset of the two saxmen.

The result is a pleasing, not un-hard bop album which mixes originals and not so much standards as cover versions to good effect. O’Higgins and Alexander both have an expert command of this particular style, but the rhythm section (Pearson in particular) also deserves plaudits for leaving the two frontmen all the room they need.

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Their solos are inventive without being theatrical and their occasional conversational exchanges effective without being predictable. Good, robust stuff, all in all. Roger Thomas