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Higgins/Keller/Metz Live At The Firefly Club spotlights the awesome jazz trio of pianist Eddie Higgins, string bassist Paul Keller and drummer Ed Metz, Jr. As the title states, this CD documents an exciting live performance before an enthusiastic crowd at Ann Arbor, Michigan's famous Firefly Club. Eddie Higgins, Paul Keller and Ed Metz, Jr. are the rhythm section for Tom Saunders' Midwest All Stars. The Midwest All Stars recorded a live CD at the Firefly Club in 2003. In September of 2004, the trio returned to the Firefly Club to make this fun, straight ahead jazz album of a few of their favorite standard songs.
For many years, Eddie Higgins was the house pianist at Chicago's London House and later at Mr. Kelly's Jazz Club. Nowadays, Eddie spends summers in Cape Cod, MA and winters in Fort Lauderdale, FL. He stays very busy traveling all over the world, performing and recording with the best jazz musicians in the world.
Bassist Paul Keller lives in Ypsilanti, MI. He is right at home in this trio but also feels comfortable in his other roles as big band leader, teacher, writer, record producer and jazz pyromaniac. Paul is a constant instigator of new jazz projects. He is admired not only for his musical talent but also for his positive energy and organizational skills.
Originally from Ann Arbor, MI, drummer Ed Metz, Jr. now lives in Orlando, FL. He has played with the Count Basie Orchestra, the Bobcats, the Black Dogs and many other famous jazz bands. Ed makes every band he plays with sound better. Now, that's the sign of a great musician!
Close listening to this CD will reveal subtle communication (and sometimes telepathy) between the musicians. These guys have a remarkable chemistry that bubbles on the bandstand. And they connect with their audience. They really know how to get over with the crowd, giving them what they want (whether they know they want it or not). This CD is filled with over 70 minutes of articulate, intelligent, exciting and soulful jazz played "in the moment" with verve, gusto and carefree abandon. The audience went nuts for this trio that night at the Firefly Club. When you hear this CD, you will too!
On the night of this recording, the trio played Speak Low as a warm-up tune. It turned out so good that they decided to make it the first track on this CD. You can sense the musicians listening to each other and working together to create something really special here.
Stella By Starlight is Victor Young's classic standard. Higgins plays a rhapsodic first chorus, then sets the tempo for the trio...and they're off!
What A Difference A Day Made is played here as a laid-back swinger. Superb. Tasty!
Sleigh Ride by LeRoy Anderson is a cool, wintertime song on which Higgins turns up the heat. Great musical imagery here. Close your eyes, listen and feel the cold wind blowing on your face as your horse-drawn sleigh careens through a snow-covered pasture. This is a real jazz tone poem.
Another composition by Victor Young, Beautiful Love features a mighty drums solo by Ed Metz, Jr. with unusual comping from Higgins and Keller.
The Duke Ellington Medley is a 23-minute, tour-de-force from the trio. This is an eight song medley that will take you on a roller coaster ride of musical emotions. Higgins is a master of instant, improvised arranging and Keller and Metz are right there with him at every tempo, key and chord change. Spontaneous, delightful, INCREDIBLE!
I May Be Wrong (But I Think You're Wonderful) is a bass feature for Paul Keller. This is a great old tune that is often overlooked. Thanks to Paul for blowing the dust off this chestnut.
J. Russel Robinson's Singin' The Blues is a beautiful dixieland tune usually associated with Bix Beiderbeck. Nice and easy does it. Short and sweet. Eddie, Paul and Ed all play traditional jazz just as well as they play modern jazz...it's all jazz to them!
St. Louis Blues. As Eddie Higgins tells his story: "In 1955, I was serving in the U.S. Army and was stationed at Fort Dix, NJ. I was recruited to enter the All-Army Talent Show. I played my boogie-woogie arrangement of W.C. Handy's St. Louis Blues and easily won the local competition (because there were no other competitors). I proceeded on to the regional level of competition where I took first place. And then, on to the semi-finals which I also won! This advanced me into national finals which were held in San Juan, Puerto Rico. This was for all the marbles. I thought to myself that St. Louis Blues had gotten me this far so I'll do it one last time. I played it the best I'd ever played it. The crowd went wild! Alas, this time I didn't win. I came in second...to an accordian player who played Lady Of Spain! Harumph!"
PKO Records is pleased to offer this CD as part of its online catalog. This is jazz "on the fly" recorded at the 'Fly. It's a wonderful, "must have" CD from three virtuoso musicians.