Opening with the song "Sister" a laid back feel of floating down rivers is conveyed, with a soft, yet rapid picking banjo tone that is up front in the mix, a finger picking style, a fluid groove develops and builds. The song is layered with hints of cello, fiddle and guitar smoothly blending to produce a toe tapping rhythm and an upbeat spirit on a melody of harmonious delight. Staying in the mood of river boats and country outings the next song carries on, "Local Motion" in a similar groove.
The song "The Up and Up" a slower paced ballad that features a trumpet, blowing a mellow refrain, tinged with hope, care of Kevin Turcotte. The response from Ross Martin on guitar is one of excitement and freedom. Mr. Stone replies to these communiqués with fancy fingering and groove inspired jazz chords that bring Turcotte to play a passionate ending making this one of the high light tunes.
The album features upbeat songs that make use of all the strings, nice arrangements where mandolin, fiddle, cello, guitar and banjo are all employed to provide harmony while producing lovely melodies that are elegant and poignant. The songs "Garuda" and "An Apple in the Dark" are such numbers, songs with a complexity, yet with subtleness, that make them catchy and intriguing.
Adam Galblum on fiddle, or jazz violin, is an excellent addition to the recording and his playing is completely at one with Jayme Stone’. The title track "The Utmost" is a good example of this tight synergy that develops between these two happening jazz-grass artists. Mike Olsen playing cello and Rob Mosher on English horn adds the classical edge, while Kevin Turcotte plays a hot jazz trumpet, all be it, at his most refined and reserved, a style on this outing somewhat reminiscent to a Kenny Wheeler.
The Utmost has a little bit of everything, a lot of banjo, and on this recording that is a good thing, as Jayme Stone has a very nice style. He is a rhythmically thoughtful, harmonic composer and player, this record is a delight to sit back, relax and enjoy for all of its soothing sounds.