The Fifth All-Day Jazz Festival and the Missing Piano Player.

jazz logo  The fifth All-Day Jazz Festival took place on the grounds of the Jewish Community Center in Nonantum. Why did we change the venue again? The Jewish Community Center had a large membership and I hoped to attract some of the members to the event. The Center also offered an air-conditioned auditorium in case of rain.

It did rain moments before the concert was scheduled to start. i then faced a most difficult decision – whether to move indoors or not. That would mean moving the audience and all the equipment- speakers, mikes, recording devices, tables and chairs. Fortunately we decided to stay outside; the rest of the day was clear but I wondered if the early rain had caused some people to change their plans. It seemed as if the audience was smaller than in past years.

The concert opened with the John Stein quartet with saxophonist Andre Ward, guitarist Kevin Barry, and drummer Masahiko Osaka. This band combined faculty and students from the ensemble department at Berklee. The Alex Elin quartet followed.

Herb Pomeroy

Herb Pomeroy
photograph by Ruth Williams

Up next was Herb Pomeroy.  This was the first time Herb performed at a Highland Jazz event and he put on a great show, accompanied by Gray Sargent on guitar, Marshall Wood on bass and Artie Cabral on percussion.

Gray Sargent

Gray Sargent with the Herb Pomeroy Quartet
photograph by Ruth Williams

Rebecca Parris

Rebecca Parris
photograph by Ruth Williams

The Rebecca Parris trio with Eddie Higgins on piano and Mike Monaghan on saxophone, clarinet and flute was scheduled as the final group. By now Rebecca was the headliner, the person everyone was excited to see. In the five years since her first solo concert at Highland Jazz she had gained quite a following.

Eddie Higgins

Eddie Higgins
photograph by Ruth Williams

But then panic set in; it was the day’s second crisis. Eddie Higgins, the piano player, was missing. He was flying in from another gig and the plane was delayed. This was that a musicianactually did not show up on time. We took a break and then we took another break. We gave out raffle prizes and finally he showed up. It was well worth the wait.

Mike Monaghan

Mike Monaghan
photograph with Rebecca Parris

Rebecca, Higgins and Monaghan had performed together many times and gave a memorable performance. Toward the end of her set she sang “The Nearness of You”  and announced at the end that the Brookline composer of the ballad, then 79-year old Milton Steinmetz, was in the audience. He seemed thrilled by her performance of his song and was warmly applauded by the crowd. Here’s a video of Rebecca singing Steinmetz’s song in 2008.

Where are they now?

Eddie Higgins died in 2009 at the age of 77. He appeared in a number of Highland Jazz concerts after the 1988 festival and  always arrived promptly. This article contains some biographical information about him and a video of his beautiful piano style.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s