With Brian are keyboardist and composer Randy Hoexter, saxophone and other woodwinds master Sam Skelton, guitarist Anthony Papamichael, and bassist Adam Nitti. Each of them continue the flash and bang of the previous album and make you want to dig out Next Level all over again.
The three tracks are gems, one and all. Skelton and Papamichael light it up over and again on guitars and the rhythm section is tight in the groove with each song.
Luna Sea opens the EP with what will become the signature cool drums and brilliant bass. Skelton’s sax comes aboard with the aplomb of Tom Scott and the rhythm section makes you bob your head throughout. Papamichael gives a scratchy rhythm guitar addition. Randy Hoexter’s keyboards are spot on and you feel yourself looking for more. This was a smoking intro to what is to come.
Caladesi follows with more of the cool sax and Papamichael provides the great guitar we were hoping to hear. Hoexter supports with the vast Hammond sound. But never lose sight of what Brian and Nitti are giving in terms of propulsion and rhythm. The hooks are memorable and the melodies are mesmerizing.
Spirit Run closes the EP with the extended melodies and rhythms that have made this such an enjoyable experience. Here is where Randy Hoexten turns in some of his best keyboard work with Skelton following up on sax. The lock-step melodic lines and rhythms are wonderful while the solo departures never disappoint.
Ahaya needs to be heard over and over. Each composition is fascinating and the performances are riveting. Each of the artists are also deserving of dedicated listening. If an EP is designed to make you want more, Ahaya succeeds magnificently.
~Travis Rogers, Jr. is The Jazz Owl