Sandy Brown Jazz

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Jazz As Art

Hanky Panky

from the album His 'n' Hers

by Judith & Dave O'Higgins


When you listen to music, you sometimes conjure images in your mind. Our Jazz As Art series invites you to listen to a piece of jazz and as it plays, scroll down the page and see which of the pieces of art I have chosen comes closest to the pictures in your mind. Hopefully, this will introduce you to recordings and art works you might not have spent time with before.


Judith and Dave O'Higgins


The album notes describe this new album by the two tenor saxophonists Judith and Dave O'Higgins: ' His 'n' Hers affectionately pits Mr and Mrs O’Higgins against each other as in the movie, Mr & Mrs Smith... In reality, this is a swinging “tough tenors” band in the good humoured tradition of the great Johnny Griffin - Eddie Lockjaw Davis group, who made nine albums together between 1960 and 1962. But what Griffin and Davis did together was not a competition, however apparently combative. It was collaboration, mutual inspiration, and special because of both the similarity and contrast of the two protagonists.'

'The eponymous His’n’Hers recording has been prepared specifically for vinyl (although it is also available on CD or Download). The appeal of this medium (vinyl) was to present something considered and well programmed in an elegantly digestible format. Pour yourself a glass of wine and listen to Side 1, whilst perusing the large-scale cover art and familiarising yourself with the tune titles and personnel. Then, 18 minutes later it will be time for a refill and you’ll be lured into hearing what Side 2 brings. An LP requires careful programming on the part of the artist, in the same way as a good set at a gig. The trackJudith and Dave O'Higgins His n Hers album order is crucial and, due to the nature of the medium, often listened to in the intended order. The CD format can be the musical equivalent of the “all you can eat” buffet - too much for one sitting! In addition, the tactile, analog nature of the 12” disc encourages focused engagement, not ripping onto a digital device for shuffled play in the background.'

'The recording was made with a “new meets old” aesthetic: inspired by the 50s and 60s Rudy Van Gelder recordings in terms of transparency and natural fidelity, but also with a nod to contemporary sonic developments. The O’Higgins have been on a mission for 10 years or more now to create a jazz friendly, ribbon mics, spill-and-all recording environment and JVG Studio gets better all the time.'

'This record kicks off with a bright modal original tune, Fourth Dimension (click here) and Judith sets the tone with the first tenor solo statement. Throughout the session she is on the left and Dave on the right. We'll Forget March is another new composition, disguised from its inspiration (can you guess what it is?) by a change to 3/4 and a pedal interlude. Spring Can Really Hang You Up the Most is inspired by Stanley Turrentine, and lulls us into a relaxed mood before having to get up to turn the disc over. Side 2 begins with another song by the O'Higgins frontline, and has perhaps the most obliquely developed lines of the date. Two crowd-pleasers from the book, amassed over years of occasional His’n’Hers gigs, finish things off: Save Your Love For Me from the Griffin / Davis repertoire, and Dexter Gordon's catchy theme, Soy Califa.' 


I find the album is a pleasure, and although I listened to it on a promotional CD, I can appreciate that it will work well on vinyl. But for our Jazz As Art feature this month we have chosen the final track Hanky Panky. I find this track really engaging. It starts with a bit of fun with a doff of the cap to Henry Mancini's Pink Panther theme before the sax solos excel against a foot-tapping tempo that carries the listener along right through the track. Inventive, swinging (sic), and 'good time jazz' for today's world. Judith and Dave are joined on the album by Graham Harvey (piano) who picks up the idea with a nice solo too, Jeremy Brown (bass) and Josh Morrison (drums). Details of the album, released on the 23rd October 2020, the track list and purchase details are here.


So play the music, scroll down the page and see which paintings work for you - I think this only really works if you spend time with each painting or scroll through them a few times.







Friz Freleng


Pink Panther Friz Freleng








Matt Marquette



Matt Marquette painting









Gene Deitch


Tom and Jerry










Michael Creese


Michael Creese painting









Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen


Simon Cato Spang-Hanssen painting









Marcia Baldwin


Marcia Baldwin painting







Kelsey Anne Heimerman


Kelsey Anne Heimerman painting







Paul Emille Becat


Paul Emille Becat painting








Beata Harasim


Beata Harasim painting








Olga Stamatiou


Olga Stamatiou swing dancers








Mark Kazav


Mark Kazav painting








Lana Picciano


Lana Picciano Hanky Panky









Gloria Coker


Gloria Coker painting








Roy Lichtenstein


Roy Lichtenstein Stepping Out









Ria Das


Ria Das Mischief







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Other pages you might find of interest :

More Jazz As Art
Video Juke Box
Tracks Unwrapped
Name That Tune

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