Trailblazing keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber is best known for the revolutionary sound The Jeff Lorber Fusion pioneered decades ago. With the January 2012 release of Galaxy, Lorber teams with Yellowjackets’ bassist Jimmy Haslip in this 21st century version of the Jeff Lorber Fusion along with saxophonist Eric Marienthal, trumpeter Randy Brecker, percussionist Lenny Castro, guitarists Paul Jackson Jr. and Larry Koonse, and drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl. Jazz with Lorber and Patrick Lamb at SPAGHETTINI’S – Friday, August 31st. Stage time is 7:30pm. Tickets are $30. Spaghettini’s is located at 3005 Old Ranch Parkway in Seal Beach. For tickets call 562-596-2199.
Lorber then meets up with Jimmy Haslip and Jeff Richmond at the BAKED POTATO – Saturday, September 1st. Stage time is 9:30pm and 11:30pm. The Baked Potato is located at 3787 Cahuenga Blvd West in Studio City. For tickets call 818-980-1615.
With the January 31, 2012 release of Galaxy on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group, Lorber follows up on the GRAMMY®-nominated 2010 release, Now Is The Time, again culling from his early catalog but gives a fresh approach to some of his most highly requested compositions, including “Wizard Island,” “City,” “The Samba” and “The Underground.”
Galaxy spotlights 11 originals – all instrumentals – that cover the scope of electrified jazz. The disc opens with “Live Wire” “At over seven minutes long, it’s a real powerful, up-tempo song,” says Lorber. “Live Wire,” like most of Galaxy, is a showcase for the work of renowned drummer Vinnie Colaiuta. “We had three days with Vinnie to cut basic tracks,” Lorber says. “Basically, he’s the best drummer on the planet, so once he lays down his drum parts – which are like the foundation – you’re ready to go. His work really inspired the rest of us.”
That inspiration also lives on “Big Brother,” a tune that recaptures the essence of contemporary jazz, while the soulful and funky “Montserrat” works a groove loosely based on the Police’s 1980 hit “When the World Is Running Down, You Make the Best of What’s Still Around.” While Colaiuta handles most of the drumming on Galaxy, Lorber recruited Dave Weckl to perform on the title track.
Lorber’s look back at jazz fusion is also a look at the present, and to the future, including vibrant reinterpretations of “City,” from the Jeff Lorber Fusion’s 1980 LP on Arista, Wizard Island (which introduced a young saxophonist named Kenny Gorelick, better known as Kenny G), and “The Underground” featuring trumpeter Randy Brecker, from Lorber’s 1993 album on Verve Forecast, Worth Waiting For.
Among Lorber’s favorites is “Horace” (dedicated to Horace Silver), the American jazz pianist and composer who inspired so much of his playing. “Along with Ramsey Lewis, he’s one of the forefathers of fusion jazz, says Lorber. “He blended funk and a melody with jazz. Sometimes he’s not given a much credit as he deserves.”
The Latin-influenced “The Samba,” originally from the 1978 album, Soft Space, on the Inner City label, highlights the skills of guitarist Larry Koonse. And for those who have heard Lorber perform live know how hard his band grooves, and “Wizard Island” from the Wizard Island album, is one of his most requested tunes.
Much of Galaxy was mixed by Michael Brauer at Electric Ladyland in New York City. Brauer’s credits include the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, Coldplay, My Morning Jacket, Ben Folds and John Mayer.. Producing duties were shared with Jimmy Haslip who also co-wrote five tunes with Lorber.
The fresh sounds on Galaxy expand the possibilities of where technology is taking music – the old becoming new, the modern becoming post modern. “It’s a step up from the last album,” Lorber says. “It’s more energetic, harder hitting and even more cohesive. This record really takes fusion to another level.”