Joe Higham and Al Orkesta: Simple Dan(ce)


Simple Dan(ce)


Joe Higham (saxophone, clarinet)


Where Are We Now? (Mongo Music j030)

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Joe Higham (saxophone, clarinet),

Jean-Paul Estievenart (trumpet), Jacques Pirotton (guitar), Oliver Stalon (bass), Stephan Pougin (drums)


Composed by Joe Higham


Recorded: Date Unknown (CD released in 2009)


Rating: 92/100 (learn more)

What do you get when you cross Sun Ra, Miles Davis circa Get Up With It, Gong, Pink Floyd, King Crimson, Balkan folk dance beats and Arabian flourishes? You’re likely to come up with an Al Orkesta concoction. “Simple Dan(ce)” is danceable but anything except simple. Starting with a sinister rockish swirl, the song settles into Eastern European rhythms and finally, a funky fusion shuffle. It’s here where Higham’s tenor emerges to play series of connected notes that ascend and descend with the melody. That groove ends abruptly when Estievenart takes over to ruminate over free-form jazz and later on Higham joins him for exotic, Middle Eastern expressions. The Slavic tempo picks up again, but this time Pirotton is going Gilmour---David, that is---all over it. Higham and Estievenart join together again to for more gypsy gyrations until the song literally runs out of gas.

Whew! Taking such a trip around the world can be exhausting. Ah, but thrilling, too.

Reviewer: S. Victor Aaron


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