Speaking of Jobim
Pianist Higgins has been plugging away for more than four decades, having recorded with the likes of Wayne Shorter and Lee Morgan back in the early '60s. After gigging quietly around Chicago and New England for the last 20 or 30 years, he has been recording more of late and has chosen a thoughtful repertoire of Jobim standards for this outing.
What is nice about Higgins' read of these tunes is that he doesn't attempt to force himself into a style in which he doesn't fit, or is not comfortable. So, gone are the painful, cliched bossa phrasings that often make recordings like this so tiresome.
Sidemen Terry Clarke on drums and Jay Leonhart on bass add much to the rhythmic foundation that keeps this disc out of the mundane. While not the ultimate in Jobim interpretations, if you are not familiar with this material, Higgins presents this healthy chunk of the master's oeuvre in a familiar, easy to understand language. If you are already a Jobim fan, you will appreciate the refreshing, unpretentious approach.