There is a nice of mix of material from the opening "With Out a Song" and Horace Silver's "Blue Silver" to Oscar Pettiford's "Bohemia After Dark," John Coltrane's "Satellite," and Stevie Wonder's "From the The Bottom Of My Heart," along with a couple of Bianchi originals. Bianchi certainly is an impressive playing and his greasy, sometimes orchestral, playing contrasts with the lean and clean chords and single note lines of Ebner, while Landham (celebrated on Bianchi's "The Will of Landham") pushes the performance with considerable swing. "Blue Silver" is certainly a good selection to observe the trio's considerable strengths and empathic ensemble playing.
Ebner opens "So Many Stars" with some Spanish laced guitar before Bianchi lays down some low-key organ on a performance that showcases Ebner acoustic playing. The groove on the greasy "The Will of Landham" brings a bit more heat to the surface while "Bohemia After Dark" has some of Bianchi's most explosive playing. Landham kicks off Bianchi's "Blues Minus One," a marvelous blues performance, before the disc closes on a nice adaptation of the Stevie Wonder number.
Bianchi is a terrific player who leads a strong band and the mix of material exhibits the trio's considerable talents. As a result, "A Higher Standard" is a wonderful organ trio recording.
I received my review copy from a publicist. This review appeared in slightly different form in the July-August 2015 Jazz & Blues Report (Issue 361). Here a slightly different incarnation of Pat Bianchi's trio performs Monk's "Trinkle, Tinkle."