The brainchild of saxophonist/forensic pathologist/author Judith O’Higgins, ATBB came together in early 2015 to record new arrangements by Jörg Achim Keller and existing arrangements by the featured composer Oliver Nelson.

Jörg Achim Keller’s version of The Blues And The Abstract Truth is a contemporary update, expanded for big band, drawing on the soloistic highlights from the original recording as new material in the arrangements, along with Keller’s celebrated individual writing style which is itself steeped in the legacy of Nelson. There is of course also substantial room for new solos by the musicians.

The recording dates were planned a year in advance to ensure the stellar “A” team all had it in their diary. The album was recorded over two days at Abbey Road’s fabled Studio 2. The band played live all together in the same room, without headphones. The aesthetic was true old-school audiophile and the band absolutely fizzed its way through the tricky scoring. It was a joy to see such an experienced bunch with huge grins on their faces. You can definitely expect this in a live context!

This is a not-to-be-missed treat for the connoisseur of beautifully arranged, performed and swinging instrumental big band music, richly imbued with tradition but also with a palpable energy and sense of adventure. If you like Gil Evans, The Mingus Big Band and Quincy Jones’ great 60s recordings you’ll love this.  



Trumpets & flugelhorns: Mike Lovatt, Andy Greenwood, Henry Armburg Jennings, Martin Shaw
Woodwinds: Howard McGill (as, ts, ss, picc, fl, afl, cl), Sammy Mayne (as, ts, fl, afl, cl), Dave O’Higgins (ts, ss, fl, cl), Judith O’Higgins (ts, as, ss, fl), Katharina Thomsen (bs, bcl);
Trombones: Mark Nightingale, Alistair White, Trevor Mires (tb);  Adrian Hallowell (btb);
Rhythm: Graham Harvey (p & cel), Geoff Gascoyne (b), Sebastiaan DeKrom (dr), Chris Allard  (g).
Conducted by Jörg Achim Keller.




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Jazzwise **** review by Mike Hobart:
“The musicianship is exemplary, and with the Abbey Road studio capturing in full the nuanced riches of the brass, the band sound great. The album follows the same order as the original, making ‘Stolen Moments’ the first hurdle to cross. With solid solos and bittersweet mood neatly intact, we move on to the dazzling ensemble technique of ‘Hoe Down’ – two orchestrated solos plus a scored battle of the brass – and the sax trades of ‘Cascades’. Highlights are two scored Dolphy solos that capture the space, discordancy and swing of the original.”

Review by Patrick Hadfield, LondonJazzNews:
“The arrangements crackle with energy and dynamics, and, taking a leaf out of George Russell’s work, include orchestral arrangements of famous solos by Eric Dolphy, Freddie Hubbard, Clark Terry and Nelson. Elsewhere the orchestration has the richness and depth of Gil Evans’ work.