Album Review of

Written by Joe Ross
September 11, 2021 - 2:24pm EDT
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Following up with his spring 2020 release of Gratitunes, multi-instrumentalist Max Highstein has released another album of grooving contemporary instrumental music. The jazz, rock and pop flavorings found among Highstein’s catchy melodies and careful orchestrations have consistently landed his albums in the Roots Music Report’s Top 50 World Album Chart. Viewing music as a strong therapeutic healing agent, Max blends his saxophones, clarinet, piano and fretless bass with colorings of cello, guitar, flute and percussion. His feel-good music also incorporates some synths, pads, bells, and various mystery sounds.

Highstein’s education shows that he’s received a BA in music, as well as two different Masters degrees in spiritual psychology and counseling. Perhaps those perspectives explain how Tiptoes manages to take us on a jaunty, happy, expressive adventure. How can someone not smile when “The Reason to be Happy,” ‘That’s the Spot” or “All Bounced Up” cue up? Highstein has a positive, uplifting vision for his music, and we listeners benefit from spirited, infectious musical interludes in songs like “Brother’s Keeper” and “Skycap Bevnap.” This album’s dynamic instrumental magic gives us a worthy musical experience that emerges from a wealthy of stylistic genres and a meticulous attention to detail.

Supporting Highstein are some masterful musicians: Jeff Pevar, Ed Willett, John Yoakum, Rusty Crutcher and Mark Clark. Closing with “Toe Trucker” and “Path of the Heart,” this album leaves a very favorable lasting impression, one that emphasizes how a resourceful, passionate musician knows how to present original music that allows listeners to feel something powerful and positive.  (Joe Ross, Roots Music Report)