of the keys Jeff Lorber is one of the busiest musician in smooth jazz
history. The result of merits and high accolades of fans, critics and
fellow musicians has a golden prosperous side. There is no other
musician we talk and write about so often. You can listen to his sound
on Mike Phillips'
Uncommon Denominator, Jay Soto's
Awhile, Ray Fuller's
Just Around The Corner, Shilt's
Sweet Drive, Alexander Zonjic's
Seldom Blues, Michael Manson's
Just Feelin It, U-Nam's
Back From The
80's and numerous more.
Jeff Lorber on
your album is a guarantee for musical success. His solo projects
always found the way to the charts. Smooth jazz oriented releases like
West Side Stories (1994), State of Grace (1996),
Midnight (1998)Kickin' It (2001), Philly Style
(2003), the side project Shades Of Soul (2004) and 2005's
Grammy nominated Flipside
are one side of Jeff's personality, the other more jazzy side is
showcased on He Had A Hat (2007). Currently many albums of his
jazz fusion oriented period are re-issued like Jeff Lorber Fusion
(1977), Soft Space (1978) and Private Passion
With Heard That
(2008) Jeff Lorber returns to smooth jazz and R&B. "I have been a fan
of all of the records he'd been doing in the urban jazz realm for
years," Jeff says. "My last album He Had A Hat was more of a
serious jazz exploration, and I wanted to record a more funky, R+B
approach that would be modern, yet also have some of the funky sound
and jazzy chord changes like the music from 1979's Water Sign
which is one of my favorite albums. Songs on Heard That like
'The Bomb', 'Night Sky' and 'Gamma Rays' have these influences.
There's also a strong blues influence, especially on 'Don't Stop and
the title track."
Most of the album Lorber produced with Rex Rideout. Lorber comments:
"The best part of recording Heard That was having the chance to
work with and become friends with Rex, who generously brought his
talent and perspective to the project. Jazz thrives on being a
collaborative medium and working with Rex was for me was a great
opportunity to learn and bring in new ideas."
The corona of
musicians on this album is: Trumpeter Rick Braun, guitarist Paul
Jackson Jr., saxman Gary Meek, bassist Alex Al, drummers Mike White,
Lil' John Roberts and Tony Moore, trumpeter Ron King, guitarist
Darrell Crooks and Peak label mate and sax icon Gerald Albright among
The album starts with the funky burner Come On Up. The groovy
combination of bass, keyboards and effects reminds me of Rene and
Angela's Street Called Desire. A nice flashback to the days of
the 80's. Jeff Lorber chose Amy Winehouse's popular Rehab for
his uplifting rendition. Mixed by Paul Brown Jeff created with the
support of Rick Braun, Gary Meek and Tony Moore an infectious dance
Under the influence of 80's soul music Don't Hold Back offers
Jeff's funky Rhodes groove and Rick Braun's rather short solo on
flugelhorn. The soul ballade You Got Something features singer
Phillip "Taj" Jackson, he is known as writer for Janet Jackson.
Gamma Rays is Lorber's melodious approach to his jazz fusion roots.
With Dave Weckl on drums and Gary Meek on flute two exponents of jazz
fusion join Lorber on his trip to the past.
Don't Stop has that funky shuffle appeal we love by groups like
Loose Ends and Soul II Soul. Vocalist Chelsea Nicole adds the right
potion of R&B. Jeff don't hold back his fusion jazz heritage and let
it explode, The Bomb. Gary Meek and Ron King build a great horn
segment. What a finish with Jeff's Hammond B3 and Lil' John Roberts in
excellent exposure on drums.
In a flowing run
Jeff's Take Control caresses hearts and bodies of R&B fans.
Mixed by Paul Brown and DC, Lauren Evans gives this song its female
and magical touch. Her vocals are featured on albums by Grammy award
winner Boney James, rock legend Mick Fleetwood, and revered hitmaker
Barry Manilow to name a few.
You need some more
funk? Then observe Night Sky. Jeff performs his elegant mastery
on keys and wah guitar perfectly supported by Alex Al on bass and Gary
Meek and Ron King's horn section. This funky attitude is also garnered
by these musicians on the title track Heard That featuring
Gerald Albright's sax.
Jeff Lorber's new
album Heard That has a high potential to get his most
successful album ever. This mixture of jazz fusion, smooth jazz and
R&B is simply unbeatable.