Jeff Lorber Fusion — Now Is the Time

May 19, 2010

 Now here’s a very cool idea. Feature a bunch of your own earlier releases on a single CD with new twists and chops. In the case of Now Is The Time, the new offering from Jeff LJeff Lorber Fusionorber Fusion, the result is so powerfully reminiscent and gloriously fresh at the same time that its electricity and appeal are simply undeniable.
Lorber couldn’t have titled this project better, considering that there is a loud and collective voice in the smooth jazz world calling for more innovation like that seen and heard back in the earlier days of contemporary and fusion jazz.  Think back to early, early Lorber, to the early days of Herbie Hancock, Chick Corea, etc., etc.  That’s the time so many long for now, and Lorber’s resounding reply is Now Is The Time.  Let’s go there…again!

The opening track, “Raindance/Wanna Fly” strikes a familiar chord (no pun intended) with Lorber fans, as his trademark keys chops ring out proudly and confidently, calling us to remember and groove with him.  Then, there’s material from his debut and other earlier releases, Lift Off, Soft Space, and Water Sign (tunes like “Chinese Medicinal Herbs,”  “Water Sign,” “Black Ice,” and “Curtains”).

This is simply great jazz of giant dimensions. This is the stuff that truly stands out and is badly needed in what is unfortunately becoming a fairly homogenous (and slightly monotonous) industry blend of R&B and jazz where the lines of distinction are beginning to blur.  Nothing at all against those beautiful blends in and of themselves, but we certainly could use more of the diverse approach offered by Lorber.  But, I digress and will now get off the podium.  The bottom line is that Jeff Lorber, as Jeff Lorber Fusion reincarnated on this one, has knocked this production out of the park with a very clever approach to recapturing the essence of contemporary jazz.  If you want to travel back but with traces of the good elements of today’s innovativeness still present throughout the music, Now Is The Time.  Let Jeff Lorber be your guide on that journey. —  Ronald Jackson