Born: August 26, 1960 Primary Instrument: Reeds
Tenor, alto and soprano saxophones, B flat clarinet
After studying sculpture at the Brighton College of Art & Design he went to the CAT in Newcastle (now the Newcastle University) where he graduated in Light Music (nowadays called jazz). Several years later, whilst visiting friends and playing concerts in Brussels (1988), he discovered that the Brussels Conservatory was opening a new jazz section and decided to follow the courses -4 years- given by Belgian musicians such as Steve Houben, Jean Louis Rassinfosse and Bruno Castellucci, ending up with a first prize in saxophone and a diploma in Jazz Studies.
Whilst at the Brussels Conservatory, he naturally became involved in the Brussels jazz scene, playing with many of the local musicians who were heavily centered around two places 'Travers' and 'The Kaai'. These clubs were a central meeting point for jam sessions and in the case of the Kaai more experimental music. It was here that Joe was able to meet and play with such players as, Hein Van De Geyn, Eric Legnini, Phillip Aerts, Bo Vanderwerf, Sebastiaan De Krom. During that period he also studied with John Roucco, one of the father figures of modern saxophone in Belgium and Holland.
After the Conservatory, Joe started playing with many different groups -jazz group Francois Decamps 'Hamp Digs Ham', local brass band 'Combo Belge', blues-soul group 'Odex Protocole' (see projects page for more info), punk- jazz group (with Geoff Leigh of Henry Cow), 'The Morton Fork Gang', and the m-base influenced Thomas & Co, formed by actor/singer Olivier Thomas around the rhythm section of Aka Moon (CDs include: 'Singulier des Pluriels' and 'Le Second Soufle De Josaphat') and the collective trio 'The Jazz Project', which played in residency at the Brussels 'Phil's Bar' for two years.
He studied Arabic music on the ney with Hamid Al Basri - one of the oldest and most respected teachers of Arabic music in Europe. From then on, Joe spent more and more time playing the Arabic ney in the classical music ensemble based at the 'Centre Culturel Arabe'. He also became involved in the Jewish klezmer rock group 'Yiddish Tantz Rivayvele' (CD: Le Monde est un Village - Radio Nomade Vol 4. RTBF productions). These experiences eventually led to the creation of Joe's own group Al-Orkesta.
Joe Higham is now teaching at the Jazz Studio which is one of the oldest private jazz schools in Europe.
Joe also continues to study with Charlie Banacos. Following these courses keeps new ideas and concepts developing in his playing, and at the same time helps maintain a certain discipline for practice routines.
Where are we now?
As A Side Musician
Chris Mentens Jazz Van
Record Label : De Werf
Chris Mentens Jazz Van
Azeto - 2003
Singulier des Pluriels
Tomas & Co
Auto production - 1996
Le Second Soufle De Josaphat
Tomas & Co
Sowrex - 1999
Bai Kamara jnr
Bang - 2005
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Willing to teach:
Intermediate to advanced students
Newcastle College of Arts & Technology (Degree in Light Music) Brussels Consevatory (Degree in Jazz Music) Teaching at the Jazz Studio (Antwerp) Clinics in Holland and Belgium. Workshop coming up in Mouscron (Nr Lille) 26/08/09