THE JEFF LORBER FUSION – WATER SIGN
A landmark set of fusion from Jeff Lorber – the major label debut of his group, and the virtual blueprint for a sound that many would try to copy over the years, but never quite match! The style's almost a summation of the CTI/Kudu approaches of the mid 70s – with Lorber setting down a sweet groove in a variety of keyboards, working with bassist Danny Wilson and drummer Dennis Bradford to create some serenely spacious grooves that have a lot of polish, but also still a nice degree of soul. Guest players really open up things nicely – especially Dennis Springer, who plays a variety of saxes on the set – as well as Joe Farrell, Freddie Hubbard, and Doug Lewis. Titles include "Toad's Place", "Country", "Tune 88", "Lights Out", "Rain Dance", and "Water Sign".
THE JEFF LORBER FUSION – WIZARD ISLAND
A real classic from Jeff Lorber – the kind of record that crossed-over immediately, and had a huge influence on so many different scenes! The style is smooth sweet fusion – of a sort that Lorber virtually helped invent, and so many others helped to ruin in later years – but here, things are clean and lean, very focused on the groove – and coming off with a really soulful sound! There's a great mix of acoustic and electric keys that really makes the album cook – giving it a two-dimensional feel that really comes off nicely on every tune – and the core lineup includes Lorber on keys, plus electric bass, drums, and saxes. Titles include "Wizard Island", "Lava Lands", "Shadows", "City", "Rooftops", and "Can't Get Enough".
JEFF LORBER – IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT
Sweet fusion grooving from Jeff Lorber – going strong here in a tight early 80s mode that combines jazz and R&B with effortless ease! The leadoff title track is a catchy groover, done with lead vocals by Jeff and Maurice Starr – but most of the other tracks on the set are instrumental, in that tight mode that Lorber virtually invented at the end of the 70s – and coming off with a lot of soul, thanks to guest work from Lee Ritenour on guitar and Ronnie Laws on saxophone. The set also features vocals from Philip Ingram and Alex Ligertwood – each on a track apiece – and titles include "Sushi Monster", "In The Heat Of The Night", "Rock II", "Waterfall", "Blast Off", and "Don't Say Yes".
JEFF LORBER – IT’S A FACT
Jeff Lorber shows his equal talents for jazz and soul on this one – working in a tight blend of keyboard and guitar electric funk – one that's perfect for the occasional vocal part! The core sound is fusion, but done in a way that works nicely off of the R&B-tinged experiments of the 70s – taking lessons learned from Donald Byrd, Herbie Hancock, and The Crusaders – in order to come up with a jazzy groove that's also pretty appealing to fans of modern soul! Vocals are from a hip trio of talents – Sylvia St James, Greg Walker, and Arnold McCuller – and titles include "Full Moon", "Tierra Verde", "Your Love Has Got Me", "Always There", "Delevans", and "The Magicians".
JEFF LORBER FUSION – GALAXIAN
The Jeff Lorber group makes a move into R&B with a few tracks on this set – adding in vocals to their core sweet fusion approach, but in a style that totally makes sense! Lorber's always had a great way with a soulful tune – working with both electric and acoustic keys in a style that's similar to Rodney Franklin – and like Franklin, the occasional vocal in his work only seems to bring out the more soul-based aspects of his work. Donnie Gerrard sings on 2 tracks – "Monster Man" and "Think Back & Remember" – and other tunes include "Bright Sky", "Galaxian", "Magic Lady", and "Night Love".
~ Dusty Groove