Lorber is the most sought keyboardist of the smooth jazz
genre, but his heart is still beating for fusion jazz.
Influenced by groups like Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather
Report and Return to Forever he founded the group Jeff
Lorber Fusion and released in 1977 the self-titled debut
album. Soon followed Soft Space (1978), Water
Sign (1979), Wizard Island (1980), and
After a period of solo albums he returned to his
centerpiece with Now Is The Time (2010), Galaxy
(2011), Hacienda (2013), and Step It Up
(2015) on Heads Up Records. Prototype is his first
album on Shanachie Entertainment. The new group consists of
keyboardist Jeff Lorber, bassist Jimmy Haslip and
saxophonist Andy Snitzer.
Jeff explains: "I came up with the name Prototype
because we are always trying to up our game and come up with
new exciting music that could be a prototype or innovative
harbinger for the future of our musical style." The project
begins with Hyperdrive, a horn driven funky loaded
piece of excellence. The sonic fury of high speed jazz is
the ultimate platform for Lorber's progressive fusion act.
Prototype gives some minutes of master class of
syncopated splendor. Andy Snitzer on alto sax showcases his
brilliance in contemporary jazz. Michael Thompson adds edgy
and rock-like guitar riffs, while Lorber impresses with
amazing versatility on piano and Rhodes. Test Drive
reaches out with a Janus head of golden harmony and jazz
rock power. The Hammond B3 flavored solo is nothing short of
a stroke of pure musical genius.
What's the Deal breaks the speed record of Tower Of
Powers' very own dynamic race. While artistic comparisons
are inherently unfair to all parties it is safe to say that
Lorber's group set a new reference. Vienna comes
like a tribute to Joe Zawinul and his Weather Report with
some bebop elements. Larry Koonse shows eclectic jazz
evolution on electric guitar.
The term The Badness can be defined in this
concrete case as intensity or virtuosity. Rhodes, Hammond B
3 in the center and the other instruments around, there is
that special something, that we call spontaneous bliss, the
indescribable feeling to experience a historic moment of
transcendental greatness. Hidden Agenda is the
special place of
saxophonist Andy Snitzer, who masters all post bop elements
with the type of flair and panache that some players spend
an entire career searching for but never achieve.
I have used the description "tour de force" in several
reviews. Gucci is simply the tune, which meets the
essential requirements set by this term in every respect.
Park West takes the more cerebral approach to
contemporary jazz with a rodeo of brilliant musicianship.
River Song lies outside the usual framework of
contemporary jazz presented on this album. Most likely it
can be described as a blend of smooth jazz and epic film
Prototype is destined to be talked about for years
to come, at least until his successor. Jeff Lorber Fusion is
at the climax of their musical career.