Flutist Dwayne Kerr’s sophomore release Higher Calling makes jazz music as beautiful as it comes. His sinewy flute passages are flanked by gorgeous glistening synth patterns, shimmering guitar tones and fluid bass loops. With Kerr and his wife Janice in the executive producer’s chair, the album takes off with a like-minded sense of beauty and harmony.
The Kerr’s worked with a litany of producers like Hubert Eaves IV, Jeff Feinstein, Daryl Grone, Matt Marshak, Shaun Martin and RC Williams, who also play various instruments on the record. It is triumphant how this team of musicians produced a splendidly streamlined album that is consumed with beauty and blossoms with exquisite detailing. Higher Calling exudes of serenity and intimate moments. It is truly one of the best well-crafted albums ever made based on its measure of teamwork and beautiful musical illustrations. It is a classic in the smooth jazz domain and does not follow a formulaic approach but allows the musicians to create the musical interludes they desire.
The album opens with Kerr’s interpretation of Bill Withers hit song "Ain’t No Sunshine" and embellishes it with an upbeat tempo and interlacing flute forms which are crowned by Erykah Badu’s spiritually incensed vocal rises. Kerr also records two renditions of John Mayer’s pop single "Daughters," one with glittering synth frills and creamy drum rolls facilitating the chambers of elegant Spanish guitar riffs and silky flute channels. The second rendition is an acoustic version of the song, which is equally as multi-faceted, but with tangy acoustics and Carmeasha Williams’ caressing vocals being greatly pronounced. Another remake is the final track "Chameleon (Beatbox) Style," originally composed by Kevin Gilliam, Herbie Hancock and Danyle Robinson. Kerr’s interpretation puts a catchy hip hop accent in his flute steps and a lively funk-jazz tempo in the movements.
All other tracks on the album are original songs made by Kerr and his producers/musicians. Saxophonist Kirk Whalum indulges in some sprightly weaves on the track "Being With You" as Kerr’s lacing flute tones and the shimmering synth comps produce a dance-jazz sleekness. The soul-jazz textures on "Yeah" are crocheted into the intricate synth detailing beautifully and the swiveling flute phrases on "Chillin’" vibrate with a graceful resonance alongside the echoing synths. It is a tune that has the right vibration to open up every chakra in your system.
The smooth exalting flute phrases on the title track are bodice by swaying movements and a light rhythmic beating while the tender flute sprigs and chingy synths on "Keep It Right There" are enliven by upbeat grooves woven into the melody. The easy listening passages of "Smooth" have a symphonic smoothness while the light funk inseams of "The H-Factor" catapult Hubert Eaves IV’s singing in an Al Jarreau-stylized vocal scat as episodes of glistening synth chimes sprinkle around his vocals.
Dwayne Kerr’s second album Higher Calling is a buffed blending of instruments and tones that exude of beauty and harmony. As the follow up to his debut album Flutation, Kerr shows that teamwork can produce the best material for an artist. Of course, an artist needs the right team to produce this outcome as Kerr discerned. With musical illustrations as beautiful as the ones on Higher Calling, Kerr and his team have to feel triumphant and accomplished in making something very special.