After a three year hiatus, Skinny Hightower is back with Mind Over Matter, a 13 track effort that is Influenced by the masterful artistry of his musical heroes in jazz piano which includes Keith Jarrett, Michel Petrucciani, Brad Mehldau, Bill Charlap, among others.
These are all original tracks, and Josh Vietti and Gary Honor help out on a few of the songs.
Review – ‘Mind Over Matter’ by Skinny Hightower
The title track, Mind Over Matter leads off the set. Hightower is pounding those keys like he is on mission. We like the addition of the horns in the hook, and the drums are really busy, which fits perfectly with the groove.
In Groove Factor, you are immediately hit with that funky bassline, and the keyboard play is brimming with swag, especially toward the end with those ad-libs. If you can describe a song as just being “cool”, then this would be it.
After Sunset has a ‘downbeat’ feel, yet it has a bounce to it, so if you throw in the all of the instrumentation, there’s a lot going on here, so the listener will enjoy the arrangement of the song.
Labyrinth is next. This is more of a showcase of Hightower’s skills. We dare you to name another piano player that can seamlessly blend straight Jazz with Contemporary Jazz that will satisfy fans of both genres.
In Lighthouse, you get a curveball at the start, where the guitar leads things off. As you progress through the song, Hightower really has it going on with the piano play. It starts off a little mellow, but by the end, he is really working the keys. This is the blueprint on how a song should develop.
Josh Vietti and Gary Honor are featured on Brazilian Nights. Vietti plays the violin and handles the string arrangements, and that violin adds a welcome layer to the song. Honor plays the flute, and we are feeling the overall vibe of this track.
The song title is Patience, but you don’t have to wait for the funk to arrive, as this will grab your attention from the first few notes. This is really classical piano played over a funk base. Our recommendation – sit back and enjoy this one.
Full Moon has some DJ scratchin’, some beat samplin’, some Gary Honor sax playin’, and some sophisticated Skinny Hightower piano smashin’. You cannot describe this one, just press play and chill.
Square One is next. In most of his songs, Hightower will play multiple piano parts, and you can really hear the contrast between the multiple keyboard parts on this track. Straight up ear candy, especially for the fans of the piano.
In Zenith, the piano is out front, although there are other instruments featured in this track, the piano it the only thing you will hear. Hightower is just PLAYING with your emotions on this one.
Night Visions is a track that leans toward the more classic style of Jazz, but with the instrument sounds of today. If you had to play one track to describe the Skinny Hightower style, this would be it.
Up next is Equilibrium, which happens to be an apt title, as all of the instruments are balance and in sync. Once again, a very nice arrangement all around.
The set concludes with Goin’ Up Yonder. We are always looking out for the Steppers, so this is a good one to add to the Steppers’ playlist. Throw this on during your next dinner party and you will be asked, “Who does this one?”
Skinny Hightower’s Mind Over Matter is a nice blend of the classic, and current styles. You can stream it now through your favorite service.