Past + Future + Fusion = Jeff Lorber “Galaxy”
On May 19, 2012 I had the opportunity to spend the morning interviewing and the evening being thoroughly entertained by the spectacular Grammy nominated jazz legend, keyboardist, composer, producer Jeff Lorber. He is well recognized for the cutting edge movement known as jazz fusion – a marriage of traditional jazz with elements of rock, R&B, funk and other electrified sounds. I was truly impressed with him and his musical gift, which he discovered at the early age of 4. He had not played in Houston since 1982, so this was a real treat for me and the many fans that have awaited his return to the Lone Star State.
The Grammy nominated Jeff Lorber played 2 packed shows at Red Cat Jazz Cafe with some incredible musicians backing him up…Musical Director- Vernon Barbary on bass, Patrick Williams on drums, Kelly Dean on saxophones and John Calderon on guitar. I sat mesmerized at the musical flamboyancy that came from the stage, by the man that seemed very low key and conservative during our interview earlier that day. He took the audience on a musical tour of his new CD Galaxy that was released January 31, 2012, on Heads Up International, a division of Concord Music Group. On this CD he revisits a sound he helped pioneer. Galaxy features Lorber on keyboards, Jimmy Haslip on bass, and Eric Marienthal on saxophones, along with guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. and Larry Koonse, drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Dave Weckl, percussionist Lenny Castro and trumpeter Randy Brecker.
I have a love of discovery in the moment, so I tend not to over research an artist before interviewing them to actually be surprised by the stories they tell and the questions they answer. I was truly surprised to find out many interesting things about Jeff’s musical journey, but to learn that hip hop stars Notorious Big and Lil’ Kim sampled Jeff’s song “Rain Dance “from his Grammy Nominated CD “Now Is The Time “which became a huge hit for Notorious Big known as “Crush on You” was a revelation. During his show he played the song and people gasped because they thought Jeff Lorber knows Notorious BIG, but in actuality it was vice-versa! Notorious BIG had the pleasure of knowing Jeff Lorber! If you would like to experience a similar Hip Hop vibe from Jeff Lorber the track “Big Brother “on his Galaxy CD moves into hip hop territory, similar to Jeff’s grooving “Rain Dance”.
Listen to “Rain Dance” by Jeff Lorber: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_5GEUbntv5c?
Listen to “Crush on You” by Notorious Big and Lil’ Kim: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDoQ2wGT6-k
Jeff and I had a conversation about musical influences and Thelonious Monk was one that he mentioned to be instrumental. I knew that Jeff danced to the beat of his own drum and created music that he wanted, but it was not until after the fact that I ran into this quote. “I say, play your own way. Don’t play what the public wants. You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you’re doing. Even if it does take them fifteen, twenty years”. Thelonious Monk~ This holds true because it has taken me 15 years to discover Jeff’s ties into the hip hop arena!
I have much more to reveal about the legendary Jeff Lorber, but you will have to wait for the upcoming release of the Inside M.E.E. Jazzy Limelight issue.
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