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Hotcakes is a generous and well-crafted set of inspired compositions. It’s the music of a fully mature artist/composer in full command of his artistic process.



Awards – Two So Far

The music video for the song, Jamby Jamby, won the One Earth Award for Best Music video. Watch the video below or on the Video Tab for this page.

The song, Low Hanging Fruit, won the Clouzine International Music Award.

About Hotcakes

Hotcakes is rooted in rock, jazz, and funk, with an emphasis on catchy melodies, intricate arrangements, and inspired solos. The playing and production is musical and artfully assembled, reminiscent in some ways of Steely Dan, Sting, or Little Feat.

Hotcakes includes longtime Highstein side musicians Ed Willet on cello, and Mark Clark on drums. Willet is one of the few classically trained string players who can effectively cross over to other genres, and if cello could ever be said to bring the funk, he does it here. Clark has a versatile and deft hand, and capably underpins Highstein’s musical vision with color and energy. Judy Mitchell adds charming and in-the-pocket accordion licks. Guitar veteran Jeff Pevar lends supple support on the final song on Hotcakes.

HOTCAKES includes brilliant performances by the following musicians:

Max Highstein – Soprano Saxophone, Clarinet, Alto Sax, Tenor Sax, Piano, Organ, Guitar, Fretless Bass. All composition, arranging, and production by Max H.

Ed Willett – Cello. Willett has performed with the Honolulu Symphony and Los Angeles Mozart Orchestra, and toured worldwide with pop/rock icon Rickie Lee Jones. Every note Ed plays can break your heart. Hear Ed Willett’s playing and singing with his wonder duo, Chance.

Judy Mitchell– Accordion. An outstanding accordionist and feature player with Almazazz. Her hard swinging yet subtle playing will give you an automatic accordion contact high.

Jeff Pevar– Guitar on First Day Out. Super-slippery guitarist with Ray Charles, David Crosby, Little Feat live stand-in.

Mark Clark – Drums and Percussion. Credits include James Taylor, Dan Fogelberg, John Popper, and Ottmar Liebert. Rhythm dripping with intelligence and charm.


I've got a right to cry, and cuss and moan
Call my baby on the phone
And tell her how I feel tonight
But that won't happen, and that ain't right

Because my baby don't listen
No no my baby don't listen
No, my baby don't listen to me
She just sits there all night watchin' that big TV

We used to be such a glorious pair
I thought she loved me
She thought I was fair
We had our own series, and it was alright
But now it's her and Mr. Robot nearly every single night

You see my baby don't listen...

Now I know how I'm gonna fix it
I'll get my own show
I'll be a man of action - a Marvel hero
And every night at seven thirty, I'll pop up on the screen
And make a better picture than my baby's ever seen

And then my baby's gonna listen
That's right my baby's gonna listen
Yeah, my baby's gonna listen to me
Cause I'll be right there all night up on that big TV



She toggles off the road to a diner
Parks her car
Shakes off the damage, and the miles
Sits at the counter, orders up a lunch
Fries and a sandwich, and she smiles

Why all the bother, why all the fuss
A better point of view would be a plus
I might try meditation, ease up on the lust
Another hundred years and I'll be dust

He rumbles up the road to the diner
Parks his truck
Can't jump down easy, but he tries
Sits at the counter, orders up a lunch
Fries and a burger, and he sighs

Why all the bother, why all the fuss
A better attitude would be a plus
I might take up a hobby, have a little trust
Another hundred years and I'll be dust.

She takes the dishes back to the kitchen
Grabs a mop
Wipes off the counter, does the tiles
Unties her apron, counts her tips from lunch
Looks out the window, and she smiles

Why all the bother, why all the fuss
A different point of view would be a plus
I think I'ld like to travel, maybe buy a bus
Another hundred years and I'll be dust.



I took my baby candy
I brought her flowers too
I made a card, I wrote down a poem
I tried to think it through

She didn't seem impressed at all
She just sighed and said
You've got to bring home the jamby jamby if you want the bread.

This did not make me happy
I felt ashamed and stuck
I had no jamby jamby
Guess I was outta luck

I rolled my wheel barrow way into town, and
I rolled it all the way back
And by the time I got back home to her, let's say I found the knack

Now we're a happy couple
You heard right what I said
I've got the jamby jamby, alright
Lord knows she's got the bread

This way be way too much to comprehend
But it's all here in a book I read
You've got to bring home the jamby jamby if you want the bread.



Your first day out, you don't have to kill it
Take your time, and slowly build your skill
It won't be long until you have it figured out
I have no doubt

Your first day out, there's less to be expected
It's no crime, some chores can be neglected
It won't be long until you have your ducks in line
Yeah, you'll do fine

Some people make it look so easy
But they're the ones who fell and failed
And knew enough to stay until they got it right
The cards may not be in your favor
But more may yet be brought to light
And even though that door won't open
With just another push it might

Your first day out, you don't need to kill it
Take your time, and slowly build your skill
It won't be long before things start to go your way
You'll be OK.

Product Video

Sift together:
1 cup flour
2 tbs sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Mix together
1 cup milk
2 tbs oil
1 egg

Combine wet and dry ingredients stirring batter lightly
Add blueberries as desired

Oil a hot pan
Spoon in enough batter for 3 pancakes at a time
Cook until bubbles form
Flip and cook briefly

Remove, plate, top with fresh blueberries and powdered sugar.

Enjoy, while listening to Max Highstein's music.



Multi-instrumentalist Max Highstein resides in New Mexico, a land of enchantment and folkloric tales. On his latest album, Hotcakes, Highstein traverses an easy-listening and adult-contemporary rock sound highlighting his saxophone and, this time, employing his vocals on four of the tunes. Hotcakes also features Ed Willet on cello and Mark Clark on drums. Judy Mitchell adds accordion, and guitarist Jeff Pevar lends his guitar on the final tune, “First Day Out.”

“Low Hanging Fruit” kicks off the album with a funky-soulful vibe that eases the listener into the tropical delight. The musicians gel into a zone locking into a hypnotic groove that transports, while Highstein colorizes with his saxophone, organ, and bass. Sounds of the tropics are evoked by drummer and percussionist Mike Clark, while a droning accordion adds to the driving force by Judy Mitchell. [Correction: Judy Mitchell does not play on the song, Low Hanging Fruit.- Max H.]

The title track, “Hotcakes,” has a sit-down and have a drink at Cheers kind of vibe. I could easily see this tune as a theme song to a TV sitcom. Equally, “Diner” was also in this vein, though Highstein vocally tackles this one. Highstein approaches his vocals in a 70s soft rock ilk.

“First Day Out” closes out the album with a sunny attitude towards first adventures and the strong fortitude to stick it out. Highstein offers this tune up once again as a vocal selection. More of a singer-songwriter vocal style, his timbre offers a more bucolic quality. Of note, on this track, Ed Willett lays down tasty cello. I also found this tune to have a soundtrack appeal overall.

Hotcakes highlights Highstein’s ability to capture the sunnier side of soft-rock, with an almost 70s vibe similar to the British group 10cc when they captured the airwaves in the mid-70s with “I’m Not In Love.” Highstein might just be bringing back the 70s with a strong inkling. If you like your music with a positive message, Highstein is the repeat listen.

Staccatofy Review - Eliana Fermi


New Mexico-based artist Max Highstein continues to be as prolific as ever. His affinity for multi-instruments is a cornerstone of his unique sound. His latest offering is titled, Hotcakes. The album is a scrumptious cornucopia of treats and delights. Joined by Ed Willett: Cello, Judy Mitchell: Accordion, Jeff Pevar: Guitar on “First Day Out,” Mark Clark: Drum Kit, and Congas. Highstein focuses on a mellow sound that keeps your foot tapping throughout.

“Low Hanging Fruit” has a deep groove that invokes a multi-layered approach with memorable hook lines that repeat and deepen with each passing. Highstein is front and center on saxophone on this one; his note choices for his soloing and commentary are superb. It must also be stated that Highstein plays organ on this cut, and the swampy groove created is palatable in its essence and track namesake.

As my appetite grew for the album, I could not leave out “Hotcakes.” A poppy smooth-jazz tune that once again settled into an infectious groove that was very satisfying. Highstein, with guitar in hand, stirs up the buttery goodness with a groovy solo, then jumping onto the saxophone, he heats up the griddle with bends and curves that add up to a memorable melodic solo. But, wait, what ok, Highstein does not stop there; he then jumps onto the ivories, and spins out a whirling guitar solo. Next, the man of many instruments injects an organ solo. Oh wow, are you feeling hungry yet? This musical chef is serving it up.

Hotcakes, the album has a lot to offer, too much to cover in one review. So, my advice, take a spin yourself with any of the online outlets and get your cup of mojo, sweets, and treats and put this one on repeat.

5 Finger Review - Bea Willis


Max Highstein is a songwriter based in Santa Fe, New Mexico, who is releasing his latest album, Hotcakes. With a combination of instrumental and vocal selections, Highstein brings new sonics to his pop-rock-styled music with saxophone playing and singing. He also surprises on guitar, handily laying down smooth solos and propelling backing rhythms on several tracks. In addition, four tunes are vocal pieces with catchy lyrics and a personable, rich delivery.

“Big TV (Live)” is a fusion of rock meets Latin rhythms, with Highstein’s light vocals leading the way. The lyrics are playful and paint a relatable picture. His saxophone is expressive and pairs with his vocal style. Highstein’s addition of vocal backgrounds and influences for a wide range of musical sounds gives this song much appeal. Ed Willet on cello adds a unique color as Judy Mitchell adds charming and in-the-pocket accordion sounds too. [Correction: Judy Mitchell doesn't play accordion on Big TV. - Max H.]

“Diner” continues in the same vein as the before-mentioned song, with Highstein’s witty, almost comical lyrics leading us through a relatable storyline. The songwriting is well-structured and benefits from the many textures of instruments and broad influences. Again, Highstein’s saxophone takes his music past the typical singer-songwriter into a texture that adds a sophisticated element to his music.

Hotcakes is the perfect soundtrack for those mornings when you can barely get out of bed to make a hot beverage. Hotcakes is a magnetic recording that does not attempt to hide its rawness, ultimately resulting in a very personal listening experience with both instrumental and vocal gems.

Rudy Palma, All About Vocals