The Jeff Lorber Fusion ft. Ron Jenkins, Eric Marienthal, Lionel Cordew
B.B. King Blues Club, Set @ 8pm; Doors @ 6pm
~ Jeff Lorber, Ron Jenkins, Eric Marienthal, Lionel Cordew ~ By the late 1970s, trailblazing keyboardist, composer, and producer Jeff Lorber had become a prominent figure in the new movement known as jazz fusion – a marriage of traditional jazz with elements of rock, R&B, funk, and other electrified sounds. Lorber and his band, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, first honed their craft in the Portland, Oregon, club scene and rapidly expanded their reach to a national and international audience via a combination of complex harmonies, unconventional time signatures, and compelling rhythms. In subsequent years, Lorber dropped the term “fusion” from his billing as the movement evolved into what is currently known as contemporary jazz. Still, he continued to explore the innovative, improvisational potential of grafting other musical forms to the jazz idiom.
Stretching the envelope has been Lorber’s strategy from the very beginning. Born in Philadelphia in 1952, he began playing piano when he was just four years old. By his teen years, he had hooked up with several local R&B bands, but his tastes trended more toward jazz when he studied at Berklee College of Music. After college, he relocated to Portland, Oregon, where he formed The Jeff Lorber Fusion. The group released its self-titled debut album in 1977 quickly became one of the most popular acts in the jazz fusion scene, thanks in large part to relentless touring and a string of artistically daring and commercially successful recordings. Lorber soon embarked on a solo career with the release of It’s a Fact in 1982. After a brief but prolific stretch culminating with the highly successful Private Passion in 1986, Lorber took a break from recording his own material, opting instead to do session work and produce other artists. He resumed his solo career in 1991 with Worth Waiting For, although he continued to produce for the remainder of the decade.
After dominating the smooth jazz genre, garnering Grammy nominations for 2007′s He Had a Hat and 2010′s Now is the Time (among other awards), Lorber has come full circle. His new recording Galaxy (2012) revisits that complex, funky sound he helped pioneer. His music reaches a new level on this disc, crystallizing jazz, funk, and Latin rhythms with some killer melodies that translate incredibly well to live performance.
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