OK, I've received quite a few emails about my favorite Dan Higgins moments on the lead alto or woodwind book. I gave it some thought and decided to rank them below - with commentary. Enjoy! - GW
Dan playing lead with the Seth MacFarlane Big Band on Jimmy Kimmel Seth "Family Guy" MacFarlane, vocals. Joel McNeely, arranger &
conductor. Saxes: Dan Higgins (lead), Brian Scanlon, Pete Christlieb,
Bill Liston, Greg Huckins. Trumpets: Wayne Bergeron (lead), Chuck
Findley, Bob Summers, Warren Luening. Trombones: Andy Martin (lead),
Steve Holtman, Alex Iles, Bill Reichenbach (bass). Rhythm: Ray Brinker
(drums), Tom Ranier (piano), Dave Stone (bass), Jim Fox (guitar).
Featuring Warren Luening, trumpet.
#1. "Mama Llama Samba" Gordon Goodwin Jazz Orchestra / "Close To The Edge" Saxes: Dan, Doug Walter, Greg Huckins, Robbie Elinson, John J. Mitchell.
This is the winner. This is one of the hardest solis I've ever played (it's angular and in a difficult key). Dan charges through this like it's nothing... and this soli is hard to make sound smooth. This was also the first soli I ever heard Dan play lead on - and I was destroyed. From what I understand, Dan just read this down with no problem, 1st take. If you listen closely, you can hear Dan playing piccolo before he switches over to alto.
#2. "Count Bubba" Big Phat Band / "Swingin' For The Fences" Saxes: Dan, Sal Lozano, Gordon Goodwin, Bill Liston, Greg Huckins.
Another DIFFICULT soli. This one weaves in and out of various time signatures. Everyone plays so smoothly that you can't really tell.
#4. "Bach 2-Part Invention" (flute intro) Big Phat Band / "Swingin' For The Fences" Flutes: Dan, Sal Lozano, Gordon Goodwin, Bill Liston, Greg Huckins.
Dan - Bach 2 Part - Flute Lead.mp3 Wow! This soli really allows you to hear how expertly Dan and the guys play their "doubles". What you're actually hearing is these guys double-tracked. In other words, there are actually 10 flutes playing. Just breathtaking!
#5. "I Remember" Big Phat Band / "Swingin' For The Fences" Flutes: Dan, Sal Lozano, Gordon Goodwin, Bill Liston, Greg Huckins.
Dan - I Remember - Lead.mp3 A beautiful flute soli by Gordon Goodwin. This is challenging because it is 5 unison flutes doubled with piano.
#6. "The Blues For Norma Jean" Patrick Williams / "Blonde" soundtrack Saxes: Dan, Terry Harrington, Plas Johnson, Lee Callet.
Another wide-open, beautiful "song-like" soli with Dan's perfect sound on display..
#12. "My Favorite Things" Masanori Sasaji / "Birdland" Woodwinds: Dan, Brandon Fields, Ernie Watts, Larry Williams, Jack Nimitz, Sheridan Stokes, Greg Huckins, Gary Foster, Bill Liston, Gene Cipriano, John Yoakum.