Fresh off collaborations with Chuck Loeb and Carol Duboc, Jeff Lorber is at it again, this time with Jimmy Haslip as his co-producer. Step It Up by Jeff Lorber Fusion (Heads Up International, 2015) continues Lorberís tradition multi-genre excellence.

Lorber handles keyboards, and on selected tracks some combination of guitar, bass and Moog bass. Haslip handles bass on all but one track. Other musicians who contribute are Ash Soan, drums; Gary Meek, tenor and soprano saxophones; David Mann, horn section and horn arrangement; Lenny Castro, congas; Paul Jackson Jr., guitar; Claus Martin, sequences; Vinnie Colaiuta, drums; Bob Mintzer, tenor saxophone; Michael Thompson, guitar; Robben Ford, guitar; Gary Novak, drums; and Larry Koonse, guitar.

The set begins with the lively ďGet Up.Ē Aided by Soan, Meek, Mann and Castro, Lorber and Haslip thrill. The title could be a command to the audience to get up out of your seats and dance. Itís a bright, put a smile on your face song, highlighted by a few phrases where Lorber opts for the piano.

Jackson, Colaiuta and Mintzer join the ensemble for "Mustang." This one is a cool groove, with Mann injecting some muted trumpet into the horn arrangement. The tenor and keyboard blend for the main melody, but each does its own thing otherwise. Lorber and Mintzer offer lively solos.

Jeff Lorber Fusion debuted in 1977. The concept broke up in the 1980s and resurfaced in 2010. Haslip was a founding member of the Yellowjackets, which began as the Robben Ford Group. Creative differences led to a split, with Ford going one way and Haslip going another, along with the groupís keyboardist, Russell Ferrante. Mintzer later joined the Jackets, which makes this outing a bit of reunion among former bandmates. All 11 songs on Step It Up were written by Lorber, with Haslip co-writing five. The music is standard Lorber fare, but with more involvement from the guitars than usual.



 

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