New on the Desert Heart Multimedia label, celebrated recording artist and composer Max Highstein has just released Flying Not Falling, his latest and best work to date.
Flying Not Falling is a bold statement about what New Age music can be today. The overall tone is joyous, happy, and uplifting. Eleven new instrumental songs engage the listener with Highstein’s signature combination of catchy melodies, well defined themes, and intricate arrangements. The result is a lively set that avoids the syrupy tones common to much of the genre, in favor of truly satisfying musical content.
Classical, jazz, and world music elements gracefully weave their way throughout the work. Virtuosic performances by Highstein on piano combine with contributions from masterful woodwind, string, and percussion players. The mix conveys a level of emotional depth and personality that draw in the listener through repeated plays.
Flying Not Falling has already begun to receive high praise from key figures:
Together with Highstein, notable contributors the album include:
John Yoakum – soprano sax, flute. Credits include Paul McCartney, Lady Gaga, Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand, The Simpsons, LA Philharmonic Orchestra.
Ed Willett – cello. Willett has performed with the Honolulu Symphony and Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, and toured worldwide with pop/rock icon Rickie Lee Jones.
Willa Roberts – vocalization. Featured with her trio Black Sea Hotel on the Grammy Award winning Yo-Yo Ma/The Silk Road Ensemble’s latest album, Sing Me Home.
Mark Clark – drums and percussion. Credits include James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, John Popper, and Ottmar Liebert.
John Gustafson – oboe. The Santa Fe Opera Orchestra, Anthony Braxton, James Newton and Bob Moses.
Jesse Tatum – flute. Principal Flute of The Santa Fe Symphony and the Opera Southwest Orchestra.
Of making the album, Highstein says, “Flying Not Falling is the third album I’ve made with a title about being in the air. (See Touch The Sky and Flight Plans.) I think it’s a hopeful title, and it suggests that since we never really know whether we’re on the way up, or on the way down, we may as well take the positive view!
“The songs began as simple improvised figures, but quickly took on a life of their own. Once I had the parts worked out, I brought in the players. The musicians who played on this album are all masters of their instruments, and bring an indescribable richness to the music. Of course I play piano, fretless bass, and various other instruments, as I usually do.”
Max Highstein, who also earned graduate degrees in spiritual counseling, continues, “This is an album of musical stories without words, that lifts people’s spirits. I like music that takes me someplace, and sets me free in some way, and that’s what I hope this music will do for the listener.”
Highstein first gained attention on the New Age scene in 1985, when his guided meditation and music recording, The Healing Waterfall, became a best seller in distribution through more than 1500 stores nationwide. Today it remains one of the most popular guided imagery programs ever recorded. He has since written and recorded over 100 more guided imagery programs on a wide range of topics covering personal growth, relaxation, and healing.
After composing the music for The Healing Waterfall, Max Highstein turned his attention to placing his music front and center. He composed instrumental music featuring his keyboard playing along with woodwinds, strings, and percussion; and combined aspects of jazz, classical, and popular song. He brought in a number of top Los Angeles session players to play parts he had written for them.
The result was two CDs — Touch The Sky, and Stars — that included some of the most heavily played music on the New Adult Contemporary Radio format of the 90’s. Both CDs still receive frequent airplay internationally. The song Full Circle from Touch the Sky became a theme song for the popular spiritual teacher Esther Hicks/Abraham. Although these and subsequent Highstein albums fall in the New Age category, the music is carefully structured and features well defined themes and arrangements, traits not so common to that genre.
Max Highstein has continued to compose popular albums including music specifically written for meditation, massage and healing. Titles include Path of The Heart, Intuition, Sacred Journeys, and others.
His latest work, Flying Not Falling, was composed and recorded in Highstein’s own studio in the high desert just outside of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The studio adjoins the solar home where he lives with his wife, Michele, and dog, Mojo.
Mojo The Dog is prominently featured in the first two music videos from the new album. Highstein says, “I think Mojo did a remarkable job considering he has no prior acting experience. He’s also non-union, which really helped to cut down on production costs.” Mojo is currently taking meetings and considering other properties, and was unavailable for comment.
Flying Not Falling can be heard and purchased in numerous outlets, including:
Max Highstein Music: http://www.maxhighsteinmusic.com
A press release by the artist