O’Higgins & Luft – Pluto (2022)

O'Higgins & Luft - Pluto (2022)
Artist: Dave O’Higgins & Rob Luft
Album: Pluto
Label: Ubuntu Music
Year Of Release: 2022
Format: FLAC (tracks)
01. Pluto (05:41)
02. South Wind (07:15)
03. Giant Steps GTI (07:56)
04. Gayetski (05:48)
05. Everything’s Under Control (05:52)
06. Vague Recollection (06:45)
07. Four In One (05:32)
08. Ballad For Barry (04:46)
09. One for the Six (06:00)


Saxophonist Dave O’Higgins & guitarist Rob Luft now present their 2nd co-led recording three years after “O’Higgins & Luft Play Monk & Trane”. Where the first album clearly did what it says on the tin, “Pluto”, as the title suggests, comes from another place. Seven of the nine songs are originals, and the remaining two are Monk & Trane hits from the 40-plus date tour in 2019 that evolved on the road.

The sonority has changed a little, too, with the Hammond organ of before replaced with piano and bass. This is straight-ahead modern jazz in the African-American tradition, clearly coming from the Monk and Trane lineage, but not bound to emulating it. You will hear Luft easily morphing Wes Montgomery with Bill Frisell, his own trademark soundscapes and worldly influences, while O’Higgins’ emotive melodies evoke Dexter, Trane, Joe Henderson and Brecker, with a melodic logic of his own.

Ross Stanley began playing with the band on organ when the logistics of Scott Flanigan travelling from Northern Ireland were unsustainable. Equally adept on piano, this instrument was chosen for “Pluto”. This opened up a place for the exciting sound of Misha Mullov-Abbado on bass. American drummer, Rod Youngs, so integral to the vibe of the band on the 2019 tour, completes the lineup.

”Pluto” was recorded live in the studio, in one room with no overdubs. The playing began in earnest around noon, and by 5:15pm the album was finished and lunch had been taken. The material came together very easily and most tracks were 1st takes.

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