Jazz seems to be enduring a horrible recession, and yet I’m busier than ever trying to spread the message along with many wonderful musicians from around the world! While all the festivals and big clubs are veering further towards programming pop music with a very feint whiff off jazz, and the music championed in the media seems to avoid the essence of the great African American tradition - swing, blues, harmony and improvisation, there are many of us trying to keep the tradition alive and vital.
I have two new CD releases. The days are numbered for CDs I fear. Apparently there’s a vinyl revival, though unless the whole process is kept in the analog domain I cant see the benefit… I’d like to see higher resolution downloads become the norm (better than CDs) and the recording process returning to everyone in one room so the swing and dynamic interaction remains intact. With that aesthetic at heart, Judith (my wife) and I produced The Abstract Truth Big Band cd recorded by a cracking band at Abbey Road, playing Jorg Achim Keller’s fabulous realisation of Oliver Nelson’s classic album of the same name. Jorg is revered around the world as one of the greatest living arrangers, and he says this is his most challenging work to date. The guys and girls were smoking on it. I urge you to check the sampler and buy it!
Another CD just out is my collaboration with Alan Barnes: Barnes, O’Higgins and the Sax Section. It was an idea hatched over a pint with my old friend from the Pizza Express Modern Jazz Sextet (we played every monday night in Soho for almost 10 years!) and recorded at JVG. It’s 5 saxes and a rhythm section playing Ellington to Supersax kind of things arranged by me and Alan. We’re doing some of the festivals this year and hopefully many more next year.
So I did have a couple of weeks off in August, but then Dave Bishop asked me to deep for him in “Beautiful” - it’s the first West End show I’ve ever done after 30 years as a professional saxophonist! Anyway, not much time off now. I need it to subsidise the jazz gigs!
Meanwhile I’ve upped the ante with the video side of my YouTube tracks from the studio - GoPro cameras, an SLR on a tripod and a steep learning curve on Final Cut Pro…. The first of the new generation of video clips is up on this website now.
Darius Bubeck’s Quartet is playing quite a few gigs, not only in the UK but also Germany, Ireland and possibly India later in the year.