John Stein’s quartet format returns once more with Hi Fly, as John continues his collaboration with bassist extraordinaire John Lockwood and master drummer Zé Eduardo Nazario of Brazil. Rounding out the quartet is keyboard wizard Jake Sherman. This native Bostonian and current Berklee student is, according to Stein, “mature beyond his years, personally and musically, with incredible chops and creativity.”
Wayne Everett Goins writes in the liner notes that John’s personal sense of accomplishment regarding his past recordings was placed in the rear-view mirror as he rose to the challenge of his bandmates’ virtuosity. Lockwood, Nazario and Sherman found unique ways of stamping their individual personalities on the impressive array of tunes displayed here. From the opening act of “Speak Low” to the final blues benediction of “Funkin’ It Up,” Hi Fly succeeds in reflecting the multi-dimensional and expressive guitar of John Stein. In this journey, he boldly leads his ensemble in search of the elusive, yet enticing element that all jazz musicians live for—swing. Indeed, they do find it, over and over again, as the quartet weaves its way through an impeccable display of standards and originals, both fresh and new.