Harvey/O’Higgins Project: That’s the Way to Live! review – giving tradition a boost

All the members of this quartet are highly rated on the British jazz scene, particularly saxophonist Dave O’Higgins. Graham Harvey is the pianist, with Jeremy Brown on bass and Josh Morrison on drums. They make an excellent ensemble, with that settled-in feeling that comes from knowing each other’s playing intimately. There are some great solos too, notably from O’Higgins on Charlie Parker’s Segment and Harvey on his own That’s the Way to Live!.

When a four-piece band calls itself a Project, you can bet there’s an agenda somewhere, and this one is devoted to keeping up the tradition of mixing standards with originals, and thus maintaining what Harvey calls an unbroken thread in jazz going back to the small bands of the 1930s. It brings with it melodic and harmonic clarity and rhythm that lifts and carries the music forward. Jazz was built on popular song and the blues, and there’s no end to the possibilities they still offer. Existen 10 tracks here in total, five composed by band members and five standards (if you include the Parker number). If it needed a Project to prove the point, this session does.

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