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Jazz fusion takes a joyride on this keys-happy burst of energy. “Ridin’ High” starts in Return to Forever territory, with a brassy blast of synths and Lenny White-style toms booming and rolling underneath. The suddenness of the opening rev-up almost suggests coming in mid-way, missing the first few notes. But it works like an announcement to buckle your seatbelt. Aaaand we’re off, quickly departing for new landmarks.
After that 45-second fanfare at the head of the tune, we hit cruise control at 125 beats per minute, with bouncy drum samples snapping along. At around 2:08, you’ll swear you’ve pulled into one of those EDM clubs, shifting into Skrillex gear—a raspy, electronic pulse that sets up a fast and fluid bass-synth solo. That bass tips its driving cap to Stanley Clarke.
The real surprise here is the ease with which the melodic themes seem to soften and, rather than being driven forward, sit dreaming in one place for a minute or so, in the last third of the tune. By the end, we’re back behind the wheel, moving on, and you realize that this is a suite, not a song. It’s a sightseeing tour with multiple stops.
There’s a particular pleasure when music feels both new and deeply familiar. “Ridin’ High” is of a piece with everything Ty Showers has ever done, but it reminds us that his restless creativity is still moving forward. The tune ends as suddenly as it began as if we got picked up, briefly, in the middle of a longer journey, then dropped off somewhere with a better view.
To riff on an old axiom, the journey is the elevation.