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Eddie Higgins: Haunted Heart

The emphasis in Higgins’ fourth Sunnyside CD is on ballads, with a particularly-well-haunting treatment of the title song. Even in Haunted Heart, however, all is not slow and reflective. Two Rodgers and Hart gems, “My Funny Valentine” and “Isn’t It

Romantic?,” are what used to be called (and may still be called) rhythm ballads. There is, in fact, rhythmic thrust to all of the pieces. Higgins gives “Lover Come Back to Me” a Latin treatment. He waltzes at a moderate tempo through “How My Heart Sings.” “Someone to Watch Over Me” begins with a chorus of out-of-tempo solo piano, but by the time bassist Rufus Reid and drummer Ben Riley join him, Higgins has entered the second chorus in a groove that complements Gershwin’s blues-inflected harmonies. He ends the piece alone, with two phrases from “Rhapsody in Blue” as his coda.

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