“Jon Regen has a rare combination of elements - virtuosic playing ability, soulful singing, and a strong songwriting talent, all developing more and more as he grows and grows as an artist through the years. Give him a freaking listen!” - BRUCE HORNSBY
On October 4, Ropeadope will release singer, songwriter and pianist Jon Regen's long-awaited new album Higher Ground.
“It’s something of a small miracle,” says Regen about his upcoming release. “It’s an album I wasn’t planning on making. When I became a parent, my touring and recording life was immediately put on hold. That was until I ran into Jamiroquai keyboardist Matt Johnson at the band’s sold-out show in New York City, on the same street my parents lived on in the 1960s. Soon after, we were crafting an entire album together, all via email.”
Produced by Johnson, Higher Ground includes musical performances by legends like Andy Summers of The Police, Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Chuck Leavell of The Rolling Stones and Nick Rhodes of Duran Duran. The album announces Regen as a formidable talent with the rarest of gifts - an original voice that speaks to the human condition with authority and hope. Regen’s songs define our times, but are meant to last for all time.
Other notable guests on the album include Larry Klein, Matt Rollings, Ricky Peterson, Jerry Marotta, Keith Carlock, Tim Lefebvre, Davey Faragher, David Palmer, George Marinelli, Julia Kent, Matt Beck and Grégoire Maret. And as impressive as the guest list on Higher Ground is, what’s even more miraculous is that every musician played his or her parts in their respective hometowns. The entire album was recorded remotely, across different cities, oceans and countries.
Higher Ground follows Regen's 2015 release Stop Time that received acclaim from AllMusic, The Associated Press, NPR Music, Paste Magazine, The Wall Street Journal and other outlets. The album was mixed by famed engineer Michael Brauer and mastered by 2019 Grammy Album of the Year award winner Greg Calbi.
“In many ways, this new album is about the moment when your heroes become your peers,” Regen says. “Having the musicians that showed me the way guest on my own music is an incredible gift, and one of the reasons that Higher Ground is the most personal album I’ve ever made.”
A protégé of the legendary pianist Kenny Barron, Jon Regen began his career as a sideman to jazz artists like Ted Dunbar, Kyle Eastwood and Little Jimmy Scott. Regen made an abrupt left turn into singer/songwriter territory with a series of acclaimed solo albums including Almost Home (2004), Let It Go (2008), Revolution (2011), and Stop Time (2015). Regen also hit Number One on the Billboard Charts with his 2013 instrumental album Change Your Mind.
The Associated Press said of Regen, “His sturdy songs, pleasing tenor and seven-foot grand are a captivating combination.” The Wall Street Journal called Regen “a confident, soulful singer,” and DownBeat said “Regen’s music shoots from - and directly into - the heart.”
Jon Regen is the Editor of Keyboard Magazine, and his writing has appeared in The New York Times, Billboard, Variety and Tape Op. Regen can also be seen in an upcoming episode of the Emmy Award-winning Amazon series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel.
released October 4, 2019
Jon Regen - vocals, piano, keyboards
Matt Johnson – keyboards, drum programming, bass, background vocals
Keyboards: Benmont Tench (10) Chuck Leavell (8) Nick Rhodes (5) Matt Rollings (4) Ricky Peterson (6)
Guitars: Andy Summers (9) George Marinelli (8) Rob Harris (1, 6) Matt Beck (4)
Bass: Larry Klein (9) Davey Faragher (5) Tim Lefebvre (8) Derrick Mcintyre (6) Fima Ephron (4)
Drums: Keith Carlock (8) Jerry Marotta (9) David Palmer (4) Alex Reeves (1)
Harmonica: Grégoire Maret (8) Trumpet: Jim Rotondi (1, 6)
Trombone: Luis Diego Bonilla (1) Cello: Julia Kent (4, 11)
Background Vocals: Nicola Sipprell (1) Laura Doggett (5) Gabriel Regen (4) plus Abe Fogle, Alice Offley, Colin Griffiths-Brown, Conrad Korsch, Everett Bradley, John Miller, Lydia Baylis, Ricky Peterson Matt Rollings (6)
All songs written by Jon Regen and published by Jon Regen Music (BMI) except “Wide Awake,” “Who Cares If Everybody Else Knows,” and “East Side Blues,” written by Jon Regen and Matt Johnson and published by Jon Regen Music (BMI) and Matt Johnson.
Produced by Matt Johnson
Mixed by Michael H. Brauer at BrauerSound Studios, NYC
Assistant and Pro Tools engineer Fernando Reyes
Mastered by Greg Calbi at Sterling Sound, Edgewater, NJ
Design Rebecca Meek
Cover Photo Anna Webber
Additional Photography Jon Regen
Jon Regen at Studio G-Machine, New York, NY
Matt Johnson at Wonderworld Studios, UK
Matt Rollings at The Practice Room, Nashville TN
Matt Beck at Mattymay Studios, New York, NY Rob Harris at Harritoons Studio, UK
Jim Rotondi at Little G Recording, Graz, Austria
Alex Reeves at Reevsey’s Drum Studio, London UK
David Palmer at Dave’s Garage, Los Angeles, CA
Ricky Peterson at The Workhouse, Minneapolis, MN
Tim Lefebvre at Black Bird Studios, Los Angeles, CA
Fima Ephron at Supreme Ultimate Studios, New York, NY
Andy Summers recorded by Dennis Smith in Venice, CA
Benmont Tench recorded by John Paterno at Acme Mastering and Massage, Los Angeles, CA
Chuck Leavell recorded by Paul Hornsby at Muscadine Studios, Macon, GA
Davey Faragher’s bass recorded by Bob Thiele Jr. at The Magic Kitchen, Los Angeles, CA
Jerry Marotta recorded by Ariel Shafir at Jersville Studio, Woodstock, NY
Keith Carlock and George Marinelli recorded by Michael Whitaker at Velvet Cinema Studio, Nashville, TN
Larry Klein recorded by Adam Greenspan at Strange Cargo, Los Angeles, CA
Nick Rhodes recorded by Josh Blair at Tape Modern Studios, London, UK
A protégé of the legendary pianist Kenny Barron, Jon Regen began his career as a sideman to jazz artists like Ted Dunbar,
Kyle Eastwood and Little Jimmy Scott. Regen made an abrupt left turn into singer/songwriter territory with a series of acclaimed solo albums...more
This is music with so much thought, feeling and consideration behind it, so as to defy encapsulation in a brief review. I listen to this album with a sense of meditative gratitude. My favorite part of the album is how Overcomer settles into the mood of Songs She Never Heard. ngballard