Dan Higgins: First Call

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I first heard Dan Higgins perform live while on tour in California in the mid-1990s. He was playing at a club around L.A. and the sax section that I was working with went to check him out. I had never met Dan at that time and didn’t even know what he looked like. I just knew that he was one of the top studio woodwind doublers in L.A. and an excellent jazz player from the big band recordings that I had heard him on. When we got to the club, I saw a tall man playing jazz piccolo! He was phenomenal and played most of the set on the piccolo. The impression that I came away with was that Dan could probably do anything on any woodwind and over the past 25 years he has confirmed that initial reaction. Then in 2002 I heard the movie “Catch Me If You Can” featuring Dan throughout the film on alto sax—a virtual sax concerto! Once again, I was knocked out. In addition, Dan is also a wonderful jazz artist, as you will hear on the audio intro to this interview and the links cited below. He is a well-respected composer/arranger and has scored a number of motion pictures, written many big band arrangements, and authored a number of books for woodwind performance. I have continued to be impressed and inspired by his total musicianship and professionalism. Check out his website for more info at DanHiggins.net and his CD, “Voicing A Standard.” Enjoy this interview with the state-of-the-art woodwind doubler.

About the Artist: Dan Higgins has established himself over the past 40 years as a woodwind virtuoso versatile in every conceivable musical genre. He has worked with literally every major jazz and pop artist and been a favored player for such composers as Quincy Jones, John Williams, Pat Williams, Sammy Nestico, Dave Grusin, Alan Silvestri, David Newman, Marc Shaiman, Randy Newman, among many others. Dan has been a ubiquitous presence in the studios   having recorded over 700 movie soundtracks; performed for numerous TV shows and award shows; recorded with notable singers such as Natalie Cole, Barry Manilow, Rod Stewart, Whitney Houston, Frank Sinatra, Barbra Streisand, Dianne Schurr, Bette Midler, etc., and a featured soloist in the big bands of Quincy Jones, Gordon Goodwin, Wayne Bergeron, Toshiko Akiyoshi, Alf Claussen, and Tom Kubis. As a Los Angeles based musician, he has been a longtime member of the renowned Jerry Hey Horn Section. Dan is a well-respected composer, having written a number of motion picture film scores and is an in-demand arranger as well. As the saxophone alter ego of Lisa Simpson on The Simpsons, soloist behind Natalie Cole on a record date, or as concert soloist with the Boston Pops or Los Angeles Philharmonic, Dan Higgins has established a reputation as the go-to guy for any musical situation—the First Call player.


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