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jeudi 30 novembre 2023






Charles William (Chuck) Higgins, saxophonist, singer, showman, bandleader, and somewhere a Rock'n'roll pioneer was born 17th April 1924 in Gary Indiana, learning trumpet and saxophone at an early age. He was already a proficient musician when he moved to Los Angeles around 1940. The young Higgins then attended the Music Conservatory and formed a band with Fred Dunn on piano and a very young guitar player Johnny Watson (!). In December 1951, Chuck recorded his first session for the Combo label, waxing the classic Pachuco hop, about the Mexican migrants that were coming to California. This first success led to many sessions by Higgins during the subsequent years and in fact, as a leader or an accompanist, Chuck was constantly roaming the L.A. recording studios until 1957.

            But the kind of no-nonsense hard-driving honkin' sax instrumentals delivered by people like Higgins weren't favoured anymore by the R&B buying public and Chuck didn't get to the studios until 1962 for a modest session and in 1964 with a band that featured future Canned Heat guitarist Henry Vestine.

            Unable to get enough gigs, Chuck had to make a living teaching music in various schools. But he anyway managed to record two LP's during the 1970's that led to his "re-discovery" by European and Japanese blues ad R&B fans, bringing him to tour overseas and recording again several albums.

            Chuck Higgins died of lung cancer in Los Angeles on 14th September 1999.

            Recently, the excellent Jasmine label has issued a CD of 30 tracks by

Higgins. Here are all the other titles (minus one) this great saxophonist has recorded.

                                          Gérard HERZHAFT


Chuck Higgins (Charles William Higgins), t-sax; Johnny "Guitar" Watson, vcl/g; Joe Ursery, bs; Eli Tooney, dm. Los Angeles, Ca. december 1951

01. Pachuko hop I & II

02. Motor head baby (vcl: Johnny Watson)

03. Love my baby (vcl: Johnny Watson)

04. Ain't gonna leave baby (vcl: Joe Ursery)

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Fred Higgins, vcl; Johnny Watson, pno; Joe Ursery, bs; Willie Jones, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 5 february 1952

05. Cotton picker (vcl: Fred Higgins)

06. Iron pipe

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Johnny Watson, pno; Jason Higgins Jr, bs; Joe Ursery, bs; Willie Jones, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. march 1952

07. Blues n'Mambo

08. Stormy (vcl: Johnny Watson)

09. Real gone hound dog (vcl: Fred Higgins)

10. Tortas

11. Big fat mama (vcl: Fred Higgins)

12. Boyle Heights

13. Bug jump

14. Just won't treat me right (vcl: Johnny Watson)

15. West Side

16. I'm in love with you (vcl: Ora May Garvin)

17. Chuck's wig

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Frank Dunn, pno; band. Los Angeles, Ca. april 1952

18. Blue sax

19. Papa Charlie (vcl: Daddy Cleanhead)

20. Higgins bounce I & II

21. Higgins blues I & II

Chuck Higgins, vcl/t-sax; Paul Clifton, t-sax; Frank Dunn, pno; band. Los Angeles, Ca. november 1952

22. That Dubonnet wine

23. The song of love (vcl: Carl Green)

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 19 août 1953

24. Wiggle

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Daddy Cleanhead, vcl; Don Epstein, tb; Jason Hogans Jr, b-sax; H.B. Barnum, pno; Jimmy Nolen, g; Winston Williams, bs; James Lee, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 16-31 august 1954

25. Something's going on in my room (vcl: Daddy Cleanhead)

26. Let me come back home (vcl: Daddy Cleanhead)

27. Special tea

28. Is it real?

29. I know what you're talking about

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Daddy Cleanhead, vcl; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 12 november 1954

30. Middle of the mambo

31. One chord instrumental

Chuck Higgins, vcl/t-sax; Kenny Batte, b-sax; Frank Dunn, pno; Jimmy Nolen, g; Roy Johnson, bs; James Lee, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. october-november 1955

32. Oh yeah

33. I need your love

34. Hey dig

35. Chuck's fever

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Daddy Cleanhead, vcl; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 12 march 1956

36. Rock'n'roll

37. Pachuko hop

38. Good luck

39. Tonk

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; g; Kenny Battle, b-sax; Frank Dunn, pno; Joe Ursery, bs; Eli Toney, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1957

40. The rooster

41. The duck walk

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; band. Los Angeles, Ca. 1962

42. Baby shoes

Pacho hop twist

Chuck Higgins, t-sax; Henry Vestine, g; Jay Cantrell, t-sax; bs; Bobby Woods, dms. Los Angeles, Ca. 1964

43. Pancho Villa

44. Too smart

45. Sorry 'bout that

46. Night scene

47. Jerky junction

48. Squiggly wiggley


10 commentaires:

  1. CHUCK HIGGINS 1951-64


  2. Thanks Gerard. Good to have these. I don't yet have the Jasmine collection, hopefully it'll pop up somewhere soon.

  3. Thank you very much Gerard - excellent artist.

  4. Fantastic compilation, Gerard. Many thanks.

  5. Gérard, Thank you for tis nice collection. Love this sax!

  6. Thanks, Gerard. Great to get some jump blues / early R&R on this site.

  7. SZ says OK. Consequently, it must be alright !