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Skinny Hightower — Retrospect

Sept. 3, 2018

Obviously a highly prolific songwriter/producer, keyboardist Skinny Hightower is constantly proving his musical prowess on the c-jazz scene as he’s released three albums within a year of each other, almost unheard of by today’s standards. Each release has been of high caliber and bears its own distinct identity. Believe it or not, not many go to any significant lengths to demonstrate their ability to achieve this – and certainly not many of the newer artists. This latest, Retrospect, is living, breathing proof that Hightower has that “it” factor.

Right out of the gate once again, Hightower brings that original soul-deep groove with his lead track “Sample That” and cruises right through with tracks like the finger-snappin’ and funk-laced “From the Heart;” the mid-tempo and cozy “California Dreams;” another funk-tight and snappy “One Way Street” which handsomely shows off his nifty work on the ivories and some impressive licks from guitarist Almon Johnson; an even more pronounced show of piano authority on “Retrospect Sonata” and the slick, kinda slinky title track (the latter treats us to some seriously solid work on keys/organ, as well); a cool, vibraphone-led, Hightower-branded cover of the classic “People Make the World Go ‘Round;” and more.

While my personal favorite Hightower release is still his previous Emotions recording, Retrospect packs its own mighty wallop and definitely cements him as a super-qualified man of the ivories (and other instruments, as well, as he plays bass, drums, and percussion on most tracks here).

Consistently combining finesse, funk, and soul in his style, Hightower continues his march to a solid ranking among those top-tier pianists gracing this genre with quality. Get a taste of this one. – Ronald Jackson