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Eddie Higgins

eddie higgins trio, eddie higgins autumn leaves
Edward Haydn Higgins February 21, 1932 – August 31, 2009 was a jazz pianist, composer, and orchestrator


  • 1 Biography
  • 2 Style
  • 3 Accomplishment
  • 4 Discography
    • 41 As leader
    • 42 As sideman
  • 5 References
  • 6 External links


Born and raised in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Higgins initially studied privately with his mother He started his professional career in Chicago, Illinois, while studying at the Northwestern University School of Music An elegant and sophisticated pianist, his encyclopedic harmonic approach and wide range of his repertory made him one of the most distinctive jazz pianists to come out of Chicago, gaining the respect of local and visiting musicians for his notable mastery of the instrument Higgins also had the unusual ability to sound equally persuasive in a broad span of music, whether he was playing traditional swing, exciting bebop or reflexive ballads, providing the tone and stylistic flavor of each style, both as soloist and accompanist

For more than two decades Higgins worked at some of Chicago's most prestigious jazz clubs, including the Brass Rail, Preview Lounge, Blue Note, Cloister Inn and Jazz, Ltd His longest and most memorable tenure was at the long-gone London House, where he led his jazz trio from the late 1950s to the late 1960s, playing opposite jazz stars of this period, including Cannonball Adderley, Bill Evans, Erroll Garner, Stan Getz, Dizzy Gillespie, Wes Montgomery, Oscar Peterson and George Shearing, among others Later, Higgins said the opportunities to play jazz music with Coleman Hawkins and Oscar Peterson were unforgettable moments Higgins spent his time at the London House Restaurant with bassist Richard Evans and drummer Marshall Thompson Higgins also worked for Chess Records as a producer

During his stay in Chicago, Higgins also recorded a significant number of albums under his auspices and many more as a sideman with a wide variety of musicians, ranging in style from tenor saxophonists Hawkins to Sonny Stitt to Wayne Shorter; trumpeters Bobby Lewis to Harry Edison to Lee Morgan and Freddie Hubbard; and trombonists Jack Teagarden to Al Grey His versatility was captured on stage and records, backing up singers and leading his own projects as both pianist and orchestrator, working in every jazz circle from dixieland to modal styles Although he opted to decline the offer, Higgins was asked at one point by Art Blakey to join the seminal hard bop quintet, The Jazz Messengers

In 1970, Higgins moved to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and began spending winters in Florida and summers on Cape Cod, where he played in local clubs Since the early 1980s, he traveled widely on the jazz festival circuit and performed frequently in Europe and Japan His releases on the Japanese Venus label earned him number one in jazz sales on more than one album After that, Higgins played his music mainly in East Asia including Japan and South Korea During his career in East Asia, Higgins formed a successful trio with Joe Ascione drums, and Jay Leonhart bass

In 1988, Higgins and jazz singer and pianist Meredith d'Ambrosio were married and became a popular team at clubs and festivals, as well as recording for Sunnyside Records In 2009, dates in Japan and Korea were on his calendar of upcoming concerts, but were suspended due to a long illness

Higgins died in Fort Lauderdale at the age of 77


Eddie Higgins's delicate tone and conception were often compared to those of Bill Evans, one of the most influential and successful jazz pianists He mostly played bop and mainstream jazz music throughout his career Higgins was at home playing melodies with swing-like feeling His melodies had groove and swing-feeling without being superfluous Such swing-feeling of Eddie Higgins was also often compared to those of Oscar Peterson and Nat King Cole


In 2009, Eddie Higgins received Jazz Disc Award from the most respected jazz magazine in Japan, Swing Journal With his album, Portrait of Love, Higgins won the Best Album of the Year In the same year, Higgins received another award from Best Engineering Album of the Year


As leader

  • 1958 Ed Higgins Trio Replica
  • 1960 Eddie Higgins
  • 1965 Soulero Atlantic
  • 1978 My Time of Day Spinnster
  • 1978 Dream Dancing Claremont
  • 1980 Sweet Lorraine EMI
  • 1982 Once in a While Spinnster
  • 1986 By Request Solo Art
  • 1990 Those Quiet Days Sunnyside
  • 1994 When Your Lover Has Gone Tokuma
  • 1994 Zoot's Hymns Sunnyside
  • 1995 In Chicago Solo Art
  • 1996 Portrait in Black and White Sunnyside
  • 1997 Haunted Heart Sunnyside
  • 1999 Tribute to Jobim Venus
  • 2000 Time on My Hands Arbors
  • 2000 Speaking of Jobim Sunnyside
  • 2000 Honk! Honk! Honk! Ace
  • 2001 Bewitched Venus
  • 2002 Don't Smoke in Bed Venus
  • 2002 Again
  • 2002 Speaking of Love
  • 2002 Smoke Gets in Your Eyes
  • 2003 You Don't Know What Love Is Tokuma
  • 2004 Moonlight Becomes You Tokuma
  • 2004 My Foolish Heart Tokuma
  • 2004 Dear Old Stockholm Tokuma
  • 2004 Christmas Night Tokuma
  • 2005 If Dreams Come True Venus
  • 2005 Christmas Songs Sunnyside
  • 2006 My Funny Valentine Tokuma
  • 2006 Amor Venus
  • 2007 It's Magic Tokuma
  • 2007 A Lovely Way to Spend an Evening Tokuma
  • 2007 Fine Romance Tokuma
  • 2007 Relaxin' at the Lounge Venus
  • 2008 I Can't Believe That You're in Love with Me Tokuma
  • 2008 Standard Higgins Tokuma
  • 2008 Secret Love Tokuma
  • 2008 Christmas Songs II Tokuma
  • 2008 Ballad Higgins Tokuma
  • 2009 You Are Too Beautiful Tokuma
  • 2009 Handful of Stars Venus
  • 2010 Portraits of Love Venus
  • 2016 Tenderly

As sideman

With Meredith d'Ambrosio

  • 1989 South to a Warmer Place
  • 1991 Love Is Not a Game
  • 1993 Shadowland
  • 1995 Beware of Spring!
  • 2001 Love Is for the Birds

With Wayne Shorter

  • 1962 Wayning Moments
  • 2002 All or Nothing at All
  • 2013 Beginnings

With Lee Morgan

  • 1960 Expoobident
  • 2002 Just in Time

With Sonny Stitt

  • 2000 Sonny, Sweets, and Jaws: Live at Bubba's
  • 2001 No Greater Love
  • 2004 Just Friends: Live at Bubba's Jazz Restaurant 1981

With Warren Vaché

  • 1999 Mrs Vache's Boys
  • 2007 Remember

With Chuck Hedges

  • 1992 No Greater Love
  • 2001 Just for Fun

With others

  • 1957 This Is Lucy Reed, Lucy Reed
  • 1959 Touff Assignment, Cy Touff
  • 1961 Brilliant, Don Goldie
  • 1961 The Thinking Man’s Trombone Al Grey
  • 1963 Sextet in Person, Jack Teagarden
  • 1985 The Great Fontana, Carl Fontana
  • 1992 The Wonderful World of George Gershwin, George Masso
  • 1996 A Time for Love, John Doughten
  • 1996 Stolen Goods, Betty Dickson
  • 1997 Double Rainbow, Rebecca Parris
  • 1999 Great Duets, Jay Leonhart
  • 2001 Indian Summer, Greg Fishman
  • 2005 Hot & Blue Vol 1–2, Bill Allred
  • 2016 One Night in Indy, Wes Montgomery


  1. ^ Allmusic biography
  2. ^ "Eddie Higgins | Album Discography | AllMusic" AllMusic Retrieved 31 December 2016 
  3. ^ "Eddie Higgins | Credits | AllMusic" AllMusic Retrieved 31 December 2016 

External links

  • All Music
  • Biography by Higgins's friend, Bill Gallagher
  • Discography
  • Obituary in Chicago Tribune

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