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There's nothing wrong with flying solo, but we can agree the ride can be twice as nice when you've got company. On the latest project from Pacific West Coast based pianist and producer, Rick Habana, he's lined up with some musical company that is basically right off the charts, or perhaps right from the charts.

The Collaborations from Habana on Innervision Records is his 12-song mastery that he produced, arranged, and mixed by himself. And the lineup he has assembled looks like the poster for a major smooth jazz festival. The process for this incredible collection began in 2020 with the release of the ultra soulful and infectious groove, "Smooth It Out", featuring the talent and guitar of Grammy winning smooth stalwart, Paul Brown.

"Poolside" soon followed with the incomparable guitarist and smooth jazz phenoom, Blake Aaron absolutely dazzling on this punchy, RnB styled track. Speaking of funky, Alabama-based flutist Kim Scott's relentlessly airy and intoxicating melody is a superb lead on Habana's piano and adds some gritty backing sax work.

Habana enlists the talents of one the finest soul jazz voices, Erin Stevenson, on the up tempo, but extremely sultry "I'll Be There", bringing an element of sexiness and a touch of sophistication with Dean James on sax. Though not a full vocal song, Stevenson provides just enough of a chorus to captivate.

Joined by other smooth stars such as Steve Oliver on "Del Mar", Nils on "Loungin", or flutist,  Ragan Whiteside, on "On Cue", the common element on Habana's The Collaborations is the up tempo vibe and rhythm you will find throughout this amazing project. Special mention goes to the rest of Habana's musical giants, Will Donato, Tom Braxton, Jackiem Joyner and Blair Bryant who contribute their talents on their respective tracks.

When you can bring in as much smooth star power as Habana does, you can expect nothing less than perfection on The Collaborations. Why fly solo when you have musical friends like them for the ride.

Reviewed by Stu Berketo

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