Dave O’Higgins: It’s Always 9.30 in Zog

review dave ohiggins x1 cong

If the title alone doesn’t want to make you buy this — it’s surely the coolest album name ever — the sleeve, evocative of the old Blue Note house style, should.

O’Higgins is a Birmingham-born jazz saxophonist, who has recorded 19 albums as a leader, so while he’s new to us, proper jazz fans must know him well.

As the title and sleeve might suggest, this is hard bop and bop, with a retro feel — if someone told you this was original music from 1964, you’d believe them — but sounding modern. It’s the playing and energy that makes it great, though. The bop flows smoothly and is played superbly. It might chill the listener out, but the players are working up a sweat.

The standard is high from the first. The opening songs are the hard bop title track and The Adventures Of Little Peepsie. The opener showcases all the considerable talents of the players. Other songs are slower, with a bit of blues, or a bit of Latin and there are moments of gentleness, but it’s always busy.

Listening to this makes you want to listen to nothing other than bop, ever again: we ended up ordering a cut price box set of the late Sonny Clark. This came out last year, but we only just discovered it.


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