'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. The appeal of this medium 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 track 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”, 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”.
released October 23, 2020
feat. Judith O’Higgins (tenor saxophone) & Dave O’Higgins (tenor saxophone), Graham Harvey (piano), Jeremy Brown (bass) and Josh Morrison (drums).