A former longtime musical director and composer at the National Theatre and RSC, trumpeter Paul Higgs, who also plays piano on the album, is joined on Pavane by bassist Jerome Davies, known for his work with jazz singer Aimua Eghobamien, Graham Cuttill on drums alternating with Russ Morgan; Andy Watson, classical guitar; and by cellist/viola player Helen Yousaf.
Blessed with superb tone, Higgs’ soundworld on his own compositions exist in Claus Ogerman-meets-Mark Isham-like musical situations, as they’re highly romantic, melodic and communicative. But if someone set words to ‘Clocks’, it would be perfect for a singer such as Christopher Cross. You won’t however find big improvisational flights of fancy or extended solos here as that’s not the point although there is a jazz sensibility at play. ‘Shadows and Desire’ is my pick of the tunes with its Metheny-esque Secret Story-like atmosphere, and the album may well also appeal to listeners who dip in and out of light classical music as much as they do styles of jazz that have their compass set firmly from the example of the early balladic side of Miles Davis onwards. The exposition of the themes, very strong movie-quality ones at that, and their decorative interpretation, is the preferred approach, whether it’s heard in the light classical style of ‘Crystalline’ or the sentimental ‘The Glow of Evening.’ SG