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Take Five With Joe Higham

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Joe HighamInstrument(s):

Saxophones, clarinets.

Teachers and/or influences? John Ruocco, Charlie Banacos.

I knew I wanted to be a musician when... I saw Elton Dean and Ninesense play. I was at art college, hesitating between playing music and making art, but seeing Elton's band start up with the likes of Louis Moholo-Moholo, Harry Miller, Keith Tippett and Alan Skidmore blowing this amazing wall of sound, I knew I wasn't going to be continuing my art school studies much longer!

Favorite venue:

Jazz Station in Brussels. Great sound, great public, well-treated by the organisers and it's a real jazz club that works ... what else do you need?

The first Jazz album I bought was: Ornette Coleman, Live at the Golden Circle (Blue Note).

CDs you are listening to now:

Ben Allison, Little things run the world (Palmetto); Twelves Trio, Here Comes the Woodman with his Splintered Soul (1965 Records);

Chris Menten's Jazz Van, Burnin' (Werf);

Lucky Thompson meets Oscar Pettiford (Fresh Sounds).

How would you describe the state of jazz today? A mess, to many chiefs and not enough Indians, although there's plenty of exciting music out there to discover.

Somehow I think that the public is a little too interested in technique, the next young star, and who wins which competition etc.; it would be nice to have more people going out and listening to the music, this way we'd also have more venues.

What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? More venues, more people coming out to listen, that's what keeps the jazz economy growing. We also need more cross border cooperation concerning gigs and festivals in other countries.

If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: Archeologist.


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