Play Monk and Trane
Last CD release:
O’Higgins and Luft play Monk and Trane (Ubuntu Music 2019)
New CD due in November 2022
O’Higgins and Luft “Pluto” (Ubuntu Music 2022)
For established giant of the UK jazz scene, O’Higgins, “Pluto” will be his 24th CD as leader. For young “firebrand” Rob Luft, this will be his 4th. They will be leading a quartet with UK’s top dog organist, Ross Stanley and Greek drummer, Billy Pod. The repertoire will be made up of Thelonious Monk compositions (expect some rarely heard ones!) John Coltrane, and some new material from the forthcoming CD.
Both Monk and Trane were “modernists”, but also steeped in swing and the rich tradition of the beboppers. Dave and Rob intend to respect this lineage whilst putting their own mark on it. Expect some swing, fun, grooves and moods from this exciting new collaboration.
Watch the O’Higgins and Luft play Monk and Trane album trailer video:
Dave O’Higgins’ tenor and soprano sax sounds are highly personal and recognisable, with a clear sense of melodic development and adventure. A popular performer with the public, with an excellent sense of pacing and presentation, he has a wide palette from Charlie Parker, Dexter Gordon, John Coltrane, Joe Henderson through to Stanley Turrentine and Michael Brecker.
Dave is a highly regarded educator at the LCCM, where he is the Jazz Pathway Leader.
He also runs a small specialist jazz recording studio (JVG), in search of the optimum way of recording jazz musicians through a combination of old techniques (á la Rudy Van Gelder) and newer innovations.
Dave has worked with some of the world’s finest musicians, including: Joey Calderazzo, Joe Locke, Dave Kikowski, Eric Alexander, Grant Stewart, Max Ionata, Phil Dwyer, Adam Nussbaum, Joe Lovano, Phil Woods, Jimmy Smith, Nancy Wilson, Peggy Lee, Kurt Elling, Wayne Shorter, Eddie Gomez, Billy Childs, Abdullah Ibrahim, Chico Chagas, Stephane Grappelli, Michel Legrand. He wrote and produced the last Matt Bianco album, “Gravity”.
Also on the CV: Frank Sinatra (the last London appearance - a week at the Royal Albert Hall in 1992) and a tour and album with Ray Charles (Strong Love Affair).
Other regular bands over the years include:
“O’Higgins plays with quite exceptional fluency and his fund of ideas never runs out.” The Observer
“A stunning player in the neo-bop vein, with an apparently effortless flow of coherent ideas, beautiful time and a highly developed harmonic sense.” JAZZ GUIDE
“His professional presentation was an object lesson to the amateurishness of local players. His musicianship seemed boundless. Like his friend Martin Taylor did last year to our guitarists, Dave O’Higgins did to our sax players – gave them new and exciting challenges. And gave us mere listeners an exceptional night.” ADELAIDE ADVERTISER, AUSTRALIA
Rob Luft is an award-winning 25-year-old musician from London, and has been described as one of the UK’s most prominent and talented young contemporary jazz guitarists. Praised by The Times ‘to achieve great things in the future’, Rob was the recipient of the 2016 Kenny Wheeler Jazz Prize in association with Edition Records, and he also received the 2nd Prize in The 2016 Montreux Jazz Guitar Competition. His debut album, “Riser”, was released in July 2017, to widespread critical acclaim from the European jazz media. John Fordham wrote in The Guardian that it’s a “very sophisticated debut, but given Luft’s old-soul achievements since his early teens, we should have heard it coming”.
Concert highlights include performances with artists including Django Bates’ “Saluting Sgt Pepper”, Iain Ballamy, Eddie Parker’s “Mister Vertigo”, Loose Tubes, Laura Jurd’s “Dinosaur”, Tommy Smith’s Scottish National Jazz Orchestra (SNJO) & The Hamish Stuart Band.
Rob is a regular member of some of London’s finest modern jazz groups, such as Byron Wallen’s “Four Corners”, Martin Speake’s “Mafarowi”, and Enzo Zirilli’s “Zirobop”. He appears on Liane Carroll’s latest release on Linn Records (‘Seaside’ – 2015), Brazilian singer Luna Cohen’s new album on the Catalonian independent label Temps Record (‘November Sky’ – 2016), & the debut album from Enzo Zirilli on Milanese label UR Records (‘Zirobop’ – 2015). In 2015 he was the recipient of the Peter Whittingham Award as part of two collective ensembles – Patchwork Jazz Orchestra and jazz-rock quartet Big Bad Wolf.
Nominated “British Jazz Musician of the year” - Parliamentary Jazz Awards 2018
“Breakthrough Act of the year” - Jazz FM Awards 2018
“With Riser, Luft has not only made a stunning debut, but sets himself at the forefront of the outstanding and interesting guitarists in jazz. Very impressive!” – Written In Music (Netherlands)
“So young and so talented!” – Jamie Cullum, BBC Radio 2 (UK)
“…an extraordinary talent!” – Julian Jospeh, BBC Radio 3 (UK)
“The virtuosity of the three [guitarists Al di Meola, John McLaughlin and Paco de Lucia] is reminiscent of the 23-year-old Londoner Rob Luft, who is celebrated as a new ‘Wunderkind’” – Spiegel Online (Germany)
☆☆☆☆ "thoughtfully virtuosic head-turner" The Guardian
☆☆☆☆ "an original guitarist to be prized" The Irish Times