Terence Higgins and Swampgrease

The Maple Leaf

September 03, 2004

Good for Terence Higgins. The Dirty Dozen drummer has been playing in New Orleans since the '80's, but he's finally gonna get some individual songwriting credibility with his new album, "In the Bywater." Who knows what took him so long to get his pen out, but after what I heard Friday night at The Maple Leaf, I hope he keeps the cap off.

Higgins and Swampgrease ran through pieces that were ear candy to anybody who liked progressive funk. Most of the songs were energetic originals with horns a blazing and hooks a plenty. The enjoyable twists and turns were a testament to Higgins' songwriting ability. It'd be great if New Orleans only gained a new and talented funk frontman in the form of Higgins. Luckily, the city is also getting a fusion freak who also revels in space jazz and the sounds of Funkadelic pianist Bernie Worrell. Higgins was joined by bassist Calvin Turner, keyboardist Andy Bourgeois, guitarist Renard Poche, alto saxophonist Roderick Pauline, and baritone saxophonists Roger Lewis and Bobby Jordan.

The diversity in Higgins' sound was what made the concert so interesting last night. I got a slow and dreamy jazz cut-out in the middle of a funk piece, and I also got a fast do-your-best freak-out. Through it all, Higgins hid behind cymbals, drums, and a sequencer. He used everything. Higgins was a fan of many notes, and he was more than happy to show his jazz influences.

The highlight of the set was an epic fusion song that allowed Higgins to show his skills. The horns bowed out, and this allowed the Moog sounds and the psychedelic atmospherics to stand out more. In the middle of the song, Higgins rolled around the set with ferocity and used a double bass pedal to add strength. I was very impressed and happy at the end, and Higgins even went "Whoooo!" into the lens of a camcorder after he conquered the hardest part of the song.

Unfortunately, there wasn't a large turnout for the show, but people will surely get more chances to see the band. It was the first time last night's incarnation of Swampgrease played in front of a crowd, so hats off. Good job, guys


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