Posts Tagged ‘ Jazz Fusion ’

Mike Stern & Jeff Lorber Fusion – Eleven

GRAMMY Award-winning keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber recalls seeing guitarist Mike Stern during his much-ballyhooed tenure with Miles Davis in the early ‘80s. “I’ve been a fan of his for a long time,” said the keyboardist, who was touring hard in support of his hit records Wizard Island and It’s a Fact in those analog days. “Jeff Lorber Fusion and Miles Davis were playing some of the same festivals back then, so I got to hear him play.” For his part, Stern offered, “To be honest, I was aware of him, and had heard a bunch of good things, but I had never really checked him out. We were just in different orbits, me and Jeff.”

In subsequent years, each staked out his respective musical territory — Lorber, the electric maestro from Los Angeles, pioneering the post-fusion sound of contemporary jazz with his radio-friendly, groove-oriented instrumental music; Stern, the esteemed six-stringer from New York, lending his considerable chops to bands led by Jaco Pastorius, Michael Brecker and Joe Henderson as well as groups like Steps Ahead, Vital Information and the Brecker Brothers while also leading his own band and cutting 18 recordings under his own name.

Credit bassist-producer Jimmy Haslip, a charter member of Yellowjackets, with bringing these two seemingly disparate musical forces from opposite sides of the country together. And rather than being a musical Odd Couple, it turns out that Lorber and Stern fit hand-in-glove on the ten scintillating tracks that comprise Eleven, set for release on September 27, 2019 via Concord Jazz. (The title is a joking reference toThis Is Spinal Tap’s Nigel Tufnel, who proudly demonstrates in the 1984 movie how his amplifier has a volume knob that goes to eleven… “for when you need that extra push over the cliff.”) Continue reading

fo/mo/deep – Syzygy

Already the spelling of the formation reveals the elitist claim. fo/mo/deep is a band of the extraordinary. The core of the group consists of Ron “FatKat” Holmes, basses (fretted/fretless), André Scott, drums, percussion and Robert Mason, grand & electric piano, organ.

The discography includes the albums Eclecticism (2010), A Beautiful Bang (2012) and The Groovy Goodness (2014). This year Syzygy is joining them. In astronomy, a syzygy is a straight-line configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system. Probably the title refers to the three members of the band who are in constant musical interaction.

Since the elitist is always in danger of self-isolation, the group has decided to open their album with a popular song. Curtis Mayfield was not only a highly talented songwriter but also the musical flagship of the African-American movement for equal rights in society and a precise observer of everyday problems. With Move On Up (1970) he spoke from the soul to the underprivileged and encouraged them not to give up. The group takes up this call because these problems still exist. If anyone is able to translate the dynamics of the piece into a piano run, it is Robert Mason.

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Oytun Ersan – Fusiolicious

Nicosia based Turkish-Cypriot Oytun Ersan has made a name as internationally acclaimed bassist, composer, recording artist and a member of the Recording Academy.

Ersan is also since more than 20 years member of the International Nicosia Municipality Orchestra first as saxophonist and later as bassist. He started his solo career with the album East Meets West (2015). Fusiolicious (2018) is his sophomore album in the jazz fusion genre.

Oytun Ersan assembled a great team of professional musicians to create a high-class jazz fusion album of international standing. Beside Oytun Ersan (composer, bass) are performing Dave Weckl (drums), Eric Marienthal (saxophone), Gary Husband and Gerry Etkins (keys), Dean Brown, Mike Miller, Brett Garsed and Okan Ersan (guitars), Karen Briggs (violin), Gökay Gökşen (trombone), Utku Akyol (trumpet), Aytunç Akdoğu and Simge Akdoğu (vocals).

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Eric Essix – Moments (Anthology)

Recently I reviewed Eric Essix’s album More with a survey of his already released works. A  short time after this review he released his album Moments, an anthology of his previous albums spanning a period of three decades.

With Street Scene Eric shows his best side right away. A high infectious melody taken from the album Small Talk (2012). Greg Manning on piano adds a joyful groove and Melvin Butler on sax a mellow note. Steel is from Eric’s album Birmingham (2009), the ode to his hometown. Birmingham was a great iron and steel producer in the decades after the civil war.

On Drive Time from Somewhere In Alabama (2004) Eric shines with a sing along guitar playing in the style of George Benson. The Distance is from Eric’s self titled album (2012), which presents a special blues-rock attitude. Southbound is the title song of the album, which was released in 2000. Kelvin Wooten delivers a phenomenal accompaniment on piano and Hammond B3.

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Jazz Funk Soul – Life and Times

Contemporary jazz supergroup Jazz Funk Soul was originally founded by keyboardist Jeff Lorber, guitarist Chuck Loeb and sax player Everette Harp. Their same titled debut album unites their skills to create something that is greater than the sum of its participants. Making some impact on fellow musicians and audience is all the group want to do. Life and Times is the much anticipated sequel to More Serious Business (2016) – which included two # 1 Smooth Jazz radio hit singles! With three of today’s top hit makers: Jeff Lorber, Everett Harp, and Paul Jackson, Jr. – artists and producers responsible for selling millions of albums and achieving nearly 50 # 1 jazz radio hits!

Grammy winner Jeff Lorber is famed for launching the career of Kenny G and his productions and collaborations with the greats Dave Koz, Janet Jackson, Lalah Hathaway and Miles Davis. He is one of the most sought after producers and musicians in jazz! The Grammy nominated Paul Jackson, Jr. Is one of the most sought after guitarists in Michael Jackson’s Thriller, several Whitney Houston hits, and many more. Everette Harp has shared the stage with music giants Aretha Franklin, Luther Vandross, Billy Joel and Patti LaBelle. A real hit maker, Jazziz magazine praises his “incredible virtuosity”, the Jazz Times calls him “a rare talent”.

Highlights of the album include “Ready Freddi”, the super funky “Where You’re At” and the spirited “Exotic”. Scheduled for release January 25, 2019 on Shanachie Entertainment Group.

Patrick Lamb – Soul Ties

Patrick Lamb is the saxophonist of the stars. He performs with Gino Vannelli, Bobby Caldwell, Esperanza Spalding, Jeff Lorber Fusion, Tommy Thayer, Diane Schuur, Bobby Kimball, Alice Cooper, and Smokey Robinson. However, his limited time still allows him to successfully pursue his solo career.

This we tie to his albums, as there are The Closer I Get (2000), Sunshine Alley (2002), With A Christmas Heart (2003), Soul Of A Free Man (2007), Don’t Get No Better (2007) as duo with Patsy Meyer, It’s All Right Now (2011), Pick Up The Pieces (2013), and this year Soul Ties.

Patrick plays sax on all tracks and is supported by Alex Al (bass), Tony Maiden (guitar), Jeff Lorber (keyboards), Lil John Roberts (drums). Cameron Morgan plays the second guitar on Liner Cross. Patrick has written all tracks with the exception of two covers. Listening to the introducing track Tailgate, makes it immediately audible that Patrick approaches his themes with raw energy and an irrepressible presence.

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Jimmy Haslip, Scott Kinsey, Gergö Borlai – ARC Trio

The jazz fusion musicians Jimmy Haslip, Scott Kinsey, Gergö Borlai have come together under the band name ARC Trio to create their eclectic imagination of how fusion jazz has to sound. Each musician comes from a different cultural background, but they are united in the direction of the joint project.

The most famous member is certainly bassist Jimmy Haslip who was a founding member and 32 year band mate of The Yellowjackets, before he decided to concentrate his activity in a plethora of different undertakings and formations. Among the artists he has played with are names such as David Sanborn, Pat Metheny, Al Jarreau, Joe Cocker, Rod Stewart, George Harrison, Chaka Khan, Diana Ross and many more.

Keyboardist and pianist Scott Kinsey has worked with Joe Zawinul, John McLaughlin, Pete Erskine, Victor Wooten, Mike Stern, Dave Weckl, Bill Evans, John Patitucci, John Scofield among others. Hungarian drummer Gergö Borlai is professor at the Liceu Academy/Jazz department in Barcelona and performed with jazz stars like Al DiMeola and Hiram Bullock. Guest musicians on this album are drummers Vinnie Colaiuta and Gary Novak, Steve Tavaglione on sax, flute and EWI, and Judd Miller on EVI.

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