Honolulu based trumpet player DeShannon Higa is a first call
session player. He performed with many big names such as Burt
Bacharach, Diana Krall, Wynton Marsalis, Al Jarreau, Joe Williams,
Wayne Newton, and Tower of Power, to name just a few. He is
connected with many local bands like The Royal Hawaiian Band,
gr00ve.imProV.arTiSts, Bop Tribal, Subtonic Orchestra and Quadpod.
While Honolulu is his hometown, he spend a lot of time in New York
playing Carnegie Hall, Birdland, Radio City Music Hall, and
Lincoln Center. He regards himself as an ambassador of other music
styles on his home island. He performs a wide range of genres.
"Ive gone through my bebop and hard bop phase, cool and minimal
phase, Latin and funk, ECM and abstract, acid jazz and hip-hop
phase. Where I am currently is more cinematic and orchestrated, I
His debut album Words Cannot Express (2018) is a
crowd funding project. "I am a soul with a story to tell, but
words cannot express. Therefore, I use music to say what only the
heart can speak." The album is now available on
CDBaby. Stylistically the album is a little adventure, nobody
knows exactly in which direction the journey goes. Twenty local
musicians were involved in the production, listing them all would
go beyond the scope of this review.
DeShannon Higa has dedicated his
album to God, because he gave him this gift of musical expression
to share. Consequently DeShannon calls the Intro Soli Deo
Gloria, a Latin term for Glory to God alone. It has been used
by artists like Johann Sebastian Bach, Georg Friedrich Hδndel, and
Christoph Graupner to signify that the work was produced for the
sake of praising God.
With Sonic Garden he draws
a sound painting of a special kind. A cinematic grandeur of
harmony that would benefit any monumental film. Eclectica
is the act of being eclectic and DeShannon does justice to this
demand, because he joins the group of elite jazz fusion musicians.
Boop Beep is superficially a sophisticated horn
arrangement. In combination with the innovative rhythm and the
fine secondary tones, however, it becomes an almost surreal total
work of art.
Come Thou Fount of Every
Blessing is a Christian hymn written by the 18th century
pastor and hymnodist Robert Robinson. DeShannon Higa's
interpretation reveals an arrangement standing in Christian
tradition. Kaulana Na Pua is a Hawaiian patriotic song
written by Eleanor Kekoaohiwaikalani Wright Prendergast in 1893.
As an instrumental version that follows the beauty of the melody,
the political explosive power of the lyric is concealed. The
interlude Alleluia Amen has something of musical ecstasy.
Since Santana's Jingo
there's a big gap in percussive pieces. With Earth Song
DeShannon fills this gap perfectly. Indigo is a
contemplative piece in itself, which flows calmly and stimulates
relaxation. Dancing Angel features female singer Tiffany
Nagano, that attracts attention with a childlike voice. This gives
the piece a natural innocence.
Through the Tears spreads
a melodramatic mood, which is impressively and dramatically
accompanied by the muted trumpet and the horn choir. DeShannon's
unadulterated trumpet rises above all like the phoenix out of the
ashes. On Vesper saxophonist Reggie Padilla lifts up his
haunting instrument. Soli Deo
Gloria (Outro) takes up the original motif again.
The final Epilogue brings an expressive emotionality,
which is reflected in a melancholic mood. Sometimes a trumpet is
just more than words.
DeShannon Higa leads us through the
ups and downs of his instrumental emotions on his album Words
Cannot Express. If you take this risk, you will be rewarded
with a trumpet in its abundant diversity.
Buy the album in all stores
Title: Words Cannot
Artist: DeShannon Higa
Genre: Contemporary Jazz
01 Soli Deo Gloria (Intro) [feat. Timothy Tsukiyama] (01:04)
02 Sonic Garden (07:34)
03 Eclectica (05:25)
Boop Beep (05:56)
05 Come Thou Fount of Every
06 Kaulana Na Pua (04:38)
Alleluia Amen (Interlude) (01:35)
08 Earth Song (08:15)
09 Indigo (08:21)
10 Dancing Angel (feat. Tiffany
11 Through the Tears (08:20)
Vesper (feat. Reggie Padilla) (03:33)
13 Soli Deo Gloria
Words Cannot Express (02:17)