120

John Rapson: Water And Blood: The Billy Higgins Improvisations

Mark Corroto By

Sign in to view read count
John Rapson: Water And Blood: The Billy Higgins Improvisations The complex idea behind John Rapson’s Water and Blood, The Billy Higgins Improvisations actually yields some simple and unassuming results. Rapson, whose trombone work has graced the California creative scene for twenty years, realized his idea to record drummer Billy Higgins’ solos and later overlay different players in a collaborative effort.

He worked the same concept on the 1994 recording Dances And Orations with Anthony Braxton. There as here, the overdubbed improvised music extends the spontaneous creations of a single player. When this project began in 2000, drummer Billy Higgins was dealing with failing kidneys and liver. His studio efforts, mostly in duo with bassist Roberto Miranda, were recorded with two simple precepts, pieces are to be three to five minutes and each shall be as different as possible from the next.

Rapson then assembled in four separate sessions to lay down improvised and written parts upon the solos he chose or constructed from Higgins’ improvisations. All these manipulations read elaborate and academically tedious, but the results are not. In fact, if it weren’t for the description in the liner notes, the seamless nature of this recording would have listeners believing this to be a marvelous group effort.

The instructions to create different patterns keep attention high throughout the sixty-five minutes of music presented. From moody tracks to “Pork For Popcorn” and “Dodging the Current” both circus/showtunes, the variations abound. Rapson adds horn arrangements here and there raising composed sections in opposition to the skilled improvising of, among many, Vinny Golia and Booby Bradford. They even take the music from acoustic to electric with some rocked-out guitar work by Steve Grismore.

Above it all (perhaps beneath it all) is the drumming of Mr. Billy Higgins. His dexterous swing and expert touch graces this recording throughout. Higgins was never a loud drummer, like Elvin or Art, but he made his snare known through a quick and discerning touch. This is a brilliant and very personal recording.


Track Listing: Moses On Call Waiting; Cobalt Purview; Fully Fenced; Rosewood And Palms; Sanguine Expectation; Now, Almost; Strut; Pork For Popcorn; Waking In A Strange Bed; Full Menu; Dodging The Torrent; Deft Purpose; Beyond The Ritual Distance; Up Jumped Snap; All Options Loaded; Baffled Question.

Personnel: Billy Higgins – Drums; Roberto Miranda – Bass; Bobby Bradford – Trumpet; Vinny Golia – Baritone Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Bass Clarinet, Alto Flute; Kim Richmond – Alto Saxophone, Soprano Saxophone, Alto Flute; Billy Roper – Tuba; Wayne Peet – Organ, Prepared Piano; John Rapson – Trombone; Bob Paredes – Clarinet, Alto Saxophone; Brent Sandy – Trumpet; Steve Grismore – Guitar; Jim Dreier – Percussion.

Title: Water And Blood: The Billy Higgins Improvisations | Year Released: 2002 | Record Label: Nine Winds Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Birdhoused CD/LP/Track Review Birdhoused
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review Vol. 1
by Troy Dostert
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Meeting My Shadow CD/LP/Track Review Meeting My Shadow
by James Nadal
Published: July 22, 2017
Read No Secrets No Lies CD/LP/Track Review No Secrets No Lies
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 22, 2017
Read 50 CD/LP/Track Review 50
by Doug Collette
Published: July 22, 2017
Read Day After Day CD/LP/Track Review Day After Day
by John Eyles
Published: July 21, 2017
Read "Ugly Beautiful" CD/LP/Track Review Ugly Beautiful
by David A. Orthmann
Published: March 24, 2017
Read "Yellow Red Blue" CD/LP/Track Review Yellow Red Blue
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: November 2, 2016
Read "Sea Ahead" CD/LP/Track Review Sea Ahead
by James Nadal
Published: July 28, 2016
Read "Ha Noi Duo" CD/LP/Track Review Ha Noi Duo
by Ian Patterson
Published: March 27, 2017
Read "Extremophile" CD/LP/Track Review Extremophile
by John Eyles
Published: April 11, 2017
Read "Funk 'n' Feathers" CD/LP/Track Review Funk 'n' Feathers
by Chris M. Slawecki
Published: August 7, 2016

Support All About Jazz: MAKE A PURCHASE  

Support our sponsor

Upgrade Today!

Musician? Boost your visibility at All About Jazz and drive traffic to your website with our Premium Profile service.

Donate!