Dave O’Higgins: tenor saxophone; Rob Luft: guitar; Ross Stanley: piano; Misha Mullov-Abbado: bass; Rod Youngs: drums
Recorded 9th January 2022 by Dave O’Higgins at JVG Studio, Brixton, London
The album opens with some spectral, inter-stellar saxophone rumblings – which provides the neatest of segues from the ‘O’Higgins and Luft play Monk and Trane’ to this set. But from this point, the music diverges – although there is a Trane tune ‘Giant Steps’, track 3, and a Monk tune ‘Four in One’, track 7, so the divergence is not total.
Of the other seven tracks, 5 are O’Higgins’ compositions and 2 are Luft’s. Luft favours a gentle vibe in both his tunes, with the rhythm section settling into an understated, samba-esque groove and giving plenty of space for the three soloists to step forward and play around with the melody. O’Higgins’ compositions take on a broader bop sound, particularly the closing track ‘One for the Six’ on which all three solo instruments join together on playing the theme.
An obvious difference to the previous set in the replacement of the Hammond organ with piano and bass which, perhaps paradoxically, leads to the group’s sound feeling louder and fuller. It is always a delight to hear musicians relishing the music that they play.
The liner notes state that the session began at noon and the recording was complete by 17:15 – most of the tracks being first takes. It is a particular joy to hear the blend of talent on this set, particularly the ways in which piano, bass and drums combine to support guitar and sax.
Reviewed by Chris Baber