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Jazz Funk Soul – Life and Times

Jan. 19, 2019

On their first release without their beloved comrade, the late great guitarist of universal fame Chuck Loeb, the Jazz Funk Soul ensemble enlists the mega-talented Paul Jackson Jr. who does a marvelous job of stepping in to carry on the legacy of quality guitar previously offered by Loeb.

This new release, Life and Times, is another superbly written, produced, and performed recording of top-tier caliber. The fused elements of the genres embraced by the group’s name are on full and powerful display here with tons of stellar jazz leading the way with heavy soul and jazz inflections.

Wasting no time getting to your groove zone, Lorber & Co. ignite the fire with the full-bodied and exciting up-tempo “Exotic” featuring Everette Harp’s mighty sax work accentuated by multi-instrumentalist Lorber’s always-commanding keys work.

That lead track is followed by stormy tune after stormy tune, all very much in the jazzy, funky, soulful mold created by this heavy-duty trio. I’ve no doubt that you’ll find irresistible such tracks as the funk-filled midtempo “Blacksmith,” the high-steppin’ and very expressive “Walkin’ With You,” the funky, confident, and driving “Windfall” with its exquisitely soulful horn arrangement sitting atop Lorber’s teasing and competently keys chops, and the airy, clear, up-tempo flair of the title track. This track also serves as yet another example of why Paul Jackson Jr. is such a highly respected and recognized name among jazz fans and artists alike as he glides through this piece effortlessly with such fluidity, lighting speed, and accuracy.

Jackson Jr. further displays his prowess on a R&B gem called “Fifth Ward” with Lorber and Harp solidly complementing him all the way.

Other polished, accomplished names appear here as contributors such as percussionist Lenny Castro, bassist Alex Al, David Mann on saxes and horn arrangements (with Harp, as well), drummers Michael White and Gary Novak, and a host of others.

The album is dedicated to the wonderful soul of Chuck Loeb, who’s undoubtedly smiling down on these guys in deep appreciation and pride — as they do represent.

There’s so much to enjoy here with so much of JFS’ very essence poured into each and every track. With more tracks like “Sunset Rock,” “Room W Vu,” “Where You’re At,” and “Cadiwampus,” you’ll clearly see why I predict this giant of a project to be at the top of the charts in no time. Full of everything that moves a genuine fan of classy, sophisticated, well-rounded, funky jazz, Life and Times simply can’t miss. – Ronald Jackson