Keyboardist (really, multi-instrumentalist) Skinny Hightower instantly became one of my favorite artists from the moment I first heard track one of his 2017 release ๐˜Œ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด. ๐˜š๐˜ถ๐˜ค๐˜ฉ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฎ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ข๐˜ฏ๐˜ฅ ๐˜ด๐˜ต๐˜บ๐˜ญ๐˜ฆ. His intuitive approach to compositions was instantly impressive to say the least. His subsequent releases haven't proven me wrong in my initial assessment one bit. Here with his double CD release called ๐˜‰๐˜ญ๐˜ถ๐˜ฆ ๐˜”๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ, this mega-talented artist again pours it on as thick as maple syrup with more plenty of funk and ๐˜ด๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ. Taking a brief hiatus from the biz to engage in a bit of introspection and to reset his internal GPS (something all serious musicians should do, in my opinion), he steps out here with fresh, creative grooves and melodies that keep you engaged from track one, disc one through track 12, disc 2. Iโ€™m not even going to entertain the idea of choosing a fave on this album as I found myself in that head-boppinโ€™, toe-tappinโ€™, finger-snappinโ€™ mode throughout. Someโ€”and I stress someโ€”of the catchy tracks include the high-steppinโ€™ โ€œBlue Moon,โ€ โ€œSpanish Harlem,โ€ the blues-tapped โ€œSky Bluesโ€ featuring guitarist Christone Kingfish Ingram, funky jams like โ€œBoogiemanโ€ and โ€œMr. Sims,โ€ and much more ear candy. Except for help on a couple of tracks by guitarists Brett โ€œAlmonโ€ Johnson and the previously mentioned Ingram, trumpeter Simon Beddoe, saxophonists Gene Shill and Rob Mitchell, percussionist โ€œBongoโ€ Bobby Thomas, and an appearance by British keyboardist Oli Silk, Hightower handles/arranges everything you hear on this well-produced project. Give it a listen, and fall in love again with ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ข๐˜ญ c-jazz.

Ronald Jackson's The Smooth Jazz Ride's Music Reviews

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