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Local Jazz Artist Skinny Hightower Prepares For More Shows, Including In Hometown


Skinny Hightower is a smooth jazz artist who lives here in Wichita. The 32-year-old is receiving some huge accolades from the jazz world. His song "Taboo" peaked at No. 1 on the Billboard charts in July.

Although he’s received favorable reviews nationally, he’s not as well known in Wichita. Hightower and his band will perform a small concert in town on Sunday.

Interview highlights
Credit Amazon

Carla Eckels: Skinny, describe your music.

Skinny Hightower: It falls in the lines of smooth jazz, but I do everything I can to not do what everybody else is doing. I know it’s more like R&B on the bottom and jazz on the top.

Are you in the studio recording?

Yes, but I already have two albums out. The first one I did, "Cloud Nine," I did that independently and then I shopped some music that I was working on around to different labels and got picked up by Trippin N’ Rhythm. "Emotions" came out last spring so it has not been that long so I’m not really focused on doing another album just yet. Right now we’re trying to get everything we can out of this one, so we’re trying to play everywhere we can, you know, just get it out.

Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW
Skinny Hightower, Dale Black, Brett Johnson and Bongo Bobby Thomas.

Tell me about your fellow band members. How did you come to gather these gentlemen here?

Well, it’s crazy because I was in the military for five years. I was in Georgia, and while I was there, I was doing music in Atlanta and stuff like that. As soon as I got back here, Dale Black came from L.A.

Dale Black, the bass player, has been going for six years. Bongo Bobby Thomas, he was here working, playing at festivals, stuff like that. Brett Johnson, he was doing his thing with Bobby, and Jalen White was playing for St. Mark [United Methodist Church]. It was like, when I got here everybody just came together at once. It was like everything just clicked. Everybody just sounds perfect together, we mesh well. We understand each other and we feel the music.

What’s next for Skinny Hightower and this band?

We got a show at Vann’s Nightclub, so that’s obviously one of the things that we are working on, but the big picture, we just want to play the best we can, everywhere we can. It ain’t about money. It ain’t about credentials. It’s about getting better, so who knows what the future holds? As long as we do those things, nothing will be impossible.

"An Intimate Jazz Night With Skinny Hightower" will be held on Sunday, Dec. 17, at 5 p.m. at Vann’s Nightclub, located at 3926 E. 13th Street in Wichita.


Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels.

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.