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Matthew Ruddick

Author of Funny Valentine, an acclaimed new biography of the jazz trumpet player and singer, Chet Baker.
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Saturday, 17 October 2020 00:36

Judith and Dave O'Higgins - His N Hers

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Husband and wife duo battle it out for that second glass.

His 'n' Hers has a distinctively retro flavour. First of all, it's a 'tenor battle', in the same vein as Johnny Griffin and Eddie 'Lockjaw' Davis, so it has that late classic 1950s or early 1960s feel, which is no bad thing. Secondly, the album was made for vinyl, which is music to my ears. I still have hundreds of CDs, but these days I buy vinyl almost exclusively - new or old. It isn't just the sound - although on a good system, the sound is much better - it's also a better fit with our levels of concentration, in my view. In the age of downloads and streaming, it's all too easy to skip from track to track, or ask Alexa to play this or that. But to my mind, CDs weren't right either. it's rare that we have the time to sit down and listen to music for 70 minutes straight. It's a view that co-leader Dave O'Higgins clearly shares. "Pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to Side A, whilst perusing the large scale cover art and familiarising yourself with the large-scale cover art...then 18 minutes later, it will be time for a refill, and you'll be lured into hearing what Side B brings." Yes! That is a large part of the pleasure, too!

Dave O'Higgins will likely be familiar to KoJ readers. Most recently he was heard on the excellent O'Higgins and Luft play Monk and Trane and playing with Darius Brubeck, Live In Poland. He's joined here by his wife, Judith O'Higgins, a fellow tenor player, forensic pathologist and author. No re-training required then! The husband and wife duo are joined by the splendid Graham Harvey on piano, Jeremy Brown on bass and Josh Morrison on drums. 

The album is a mix of fine original compositions and well-chosen covers, and with just six tracks - seven on CD - it never outstays its welcome, or indeed that second glass of wine. Unless there are two of you (or you're thirsty)! We'll Forget March is my favourite of the originals, and has an old-fashioned feel that sits well with the album, particularly when it is followed by another highlight, Fran Landesman's evergreen Spring Can Really Hang You Up The Most

Watch a preview of the album here:

Side Two brings the splendidly-titled Los Bandidos Bogarolles - a Covid-19 tune, perhaps. But the next two tracks are better still. A delightful version of Buddy Johnson's Save Your Love For Me and a spirited romp through Dexter Gordon's Soy Califa, which is a whole lot more enjoyable than a soya latte.

The artwork also comes with a retro feel, and looks a little like the old Prestige album covers of old. It also was recorded at the JVG (Judy Van Gelder) studios in Brixton in South London, and captures the band's sound to good effect. His 'n' Hers may lack some of the fiery spirit of the older 'battles', but there's plenty to enjoy here, especially of vinyl. It doesn't break any new ground, but its a great way to break open a bottle of wine. Cheers! 


Read 2239 times Last modified on Sunday, 18 October 2020 07:26

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