Imagine identical, musically inclined identical twins growing up in Hong Kong, where they seldom heard jazz, and then at 15 moving with their Japanese mother and American father to musically rich Memphis.
Imagine these boys falling head over heels for jazz to the point of devoting their young lives to it—and then, during one of their regular visits to their grandmother in Japan, creating an enthusiastic following for the music in a town that had never been exposed to it.
But that’s not all, folks. Imagine drummer Carl Maguire and bassist Alan Maguire going into the studio with Memphis legend Donald Brown, barely into their twenties, and recording an topflight album with the likes of tenor saxophonist Gregory Tardy, trumpeter Bill Mobley, and pianist Aaron Goldberg.
It has indeed been a charmed, storybook life for the Maguire Twins, who at 21 have more worldly experience than many musicians acquire in a lifetime. And as signified by the title of their excellent new recording, Seeking Higher Ground, produced by Brown, they have only begun to grow as artists.
“It all goes back to Donald,” says Alan. “He has kept us motivated. He’s always giving us something new to work on.”
“Memphis is where most of our musical growing happened,” adds Carl. “I can't imagine us getting to where we are if we hadn’t come here.”
Seeking Higher Ground is a stellar showcase for the Maguires, as both players and composers. They contribute two originals each to the program, which includes songs by their illustrious bandmates and producer. And without sacrificing cohesiveness, the songs are stylistically diverse.