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Patience Higgins

Patience Higgins

Patience Higgins is true to his name. He has waited nearly 25 years for a recording date of his own, which is not to suggest he has been idle. The New York-based multi-instrumentalist has been the quintessential journeyman, working with R&B legends Wilson Pickett and Sam and Dave, jazz institutions like the Duke Ellington Orchestra, and mavericks like Muhal Richard Abrams and Hamiet Bluiett.

Higgins’ patience has paid off handsomely in the form of Live in Harlem, the latest addition to Bluiett’s Explorations series for Mapleshade, the renowned audiophile label. Live in Harlem documents Higgins presiding over the Monday night jam sessions at the historic St. Nick’s Pub (Charlie Parker recorded there; Billy Strayhorn hung there when the club was known as Lucky’s Rendezvous). Word of the sessions spread to all corners of the music community during Higgins’ four-year tenure, and the vitality of the scene permeates every digit encoded onto the disc. In addition to Higgins’ strong quartet with pianist Lee Kurz, bassist Andy McCloud, and drummer Eli Fountain, this program of smokin’ blowing vehicles features guest spots by, among others, Bluiett and trombonist Kiane Zawadi. On disc, Higgins recently has mainly been heard on baritone with Bluiett’s Baritone Nation; here, he is exclusively heard on tenor, bringing a distinctive fire to the tradition.

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