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About It's always 9.30 in Zog
“O’Higgins plays with quite exceptional fluency and his fund of ideas never run out.”
It’s always 9.30 in Zog is O’Higgins’ nineteenth album as leader and features eight original compositions, legendary South African Bheki Mseleku’s ‘Timelessness’, ‘Brixton’ written specially for O’Higgins by Brazilian accordion virtuoso, Chico Chagas, and two standards.
“The title track is a blues fusing influences of Jerry Bergonzi and Walt Weiskopf (the triad pairs in the intro melody), the avant garde (the rising chaos ending the intro), the extreme dynamics of Art Blakey, and hard bop,” says O’Higgins. “What does the album title It’s Always 9:30 in Zog mean? Here are 2 fanciful answers: 1. It’s an allegorical title that refers to an alien’s perception of the daft carry on that is human life; 2. Refers to those moments you feel as if you come from another place. Zog is a planet located in a black hole in the space time continuum where everyone breathes water and it's always 9:30.”
The title of the third track of the album, ‘Alien With Extraordinary Ability’, appears to link up with the Zogian theme but is actually the moniker given to the artist work visa O’Higgins had to get for the US to play with the Brubecks at the Lincoln Center. The piece itself is influenced by 70s Chick Corea compositions with Return to Forever and the light samba feel from Airto Moreira, who O’Higgins used to support every time he played at Ronnie Scott’s throughout the 90s.
O’Higgins’ quartet, featuring Graham Harvey on piano, Geoff Gascoyne on bass and drummer Sebastiaan de Krom, has been his regular working group for the last six years. “We’ve played a repertoire comprising contrafacts and standards mainly up until now, when I decided it was high time to get writing some new original material for these guys I’ve got to know musically and socially well in that time,” says O’Higgins. “This recording captures the essence of the band to good effect. The 'live in the studio' philosophy at JVG Studio is the natural habitat to achieve this.”