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Jeff Lorber Fusion — Impact

Sept. 3, 2018

Now into his 41st year of banging out hit jazz record after hit jazz record, master keyboardist/producer/composer Jeff Lorber nails another great one with the Jeff Lorber Fusion’s Impact album — a year after grabbing his first Grammy win for the group’s remarkable work on its previous album Prototype.

Still doing it majestically with sidekick/key collaborator Yellowjackets founding member bassist Jimmy Haslip, saxman Andy Snitzer, and drummer Gary Novak, Lorber tosses in the fanciful guitar work of Paul Jackson Jr. and Adam Hawley, horn arranger and performer Dave Mann, and others to spice up a recipe that’s always kickin’ anyway. This is jazz fusion the way it was always meant to be.

In reference to his longstanding success for over 4 decades, Lorber says his early influences were the iconic Herbie Hancock, Weather Report, the Mahavishnu Orchestra, and Return to Forever. All helped shape the Lorber we all know and love today.

In his early career, jazz fusion was Lorber’s primary focus. After later rolling out a few recordings that had a lot more of the “conventional” smooth jazz/R&B/funk base (e.g., Midnight, Worth Waiting For, Philly Style, and State of Grace), he decided to revive his first love via the creation of JLF a few years back, and it’s clear this is where he’ll stay. Oh, believe me when I say I absolutely adored that earlier smooth jazz groove (probably have every single one of those albums), but I’m sure his return to jazz fusion with a solid funk kick has also been a welcome move for any real Lorber fan. In a nutshell, the man knows and loves his jazz.

Here on Impact, the fusion fire is bright as he rolls through such jams as the hot & funky lead track “Sport Coat Makes Good,” the equally rousing “Pasadena City” which shows off some killer chops by all, the head-boppin’ “Citizenship,” and so much more.

All said, whether you’re groovin’ to Lorber’s very first fusion ventures, his later smooth/R&B-friendly offerings, or this current JLF return to his original fusion style, the feel and the funk is always great, satisfying, and moving.

Impact will have an impact on JLF fans everywhere as well as on new and inquisitive fans. Simply put: Jazz fusion with grit and body. Get with this. – Ronald Jackson