Saturday, October 15, 2011

StLJN Saturday Video Showcase:
Jeff Lorber 's fusion, revisited

For today's video showcase, let's check out some clips of keyboardist Jeff Lorber, who will be in St. Louis to perform next Wednesday, October 19 through Saturday, October 22 at Jazz at the Bistro. Though Lorber has played St. Louis before - most recently in 2008 at The Pageant as part of that year's Guitars and Saxes tour - this will be his debut at the Bistro. His band for the week will include saxophonist Eric Marienthal and bassist Jimmy Haslip, both of whom played a significant role on Lorber's 2010 CD Now Is The Time, plus veteran jazz/funk/R&B drummer Rayford Griffin.

Now Is The Time marked a return to Lorber's roots in 1970s fusion, emphasizing musicianship and spontaneity, as on his early recordings, rather than the more pop sensibilities and production techniques found in some of his recent work. The CD included updated versions of several of Lorber's most popular older tunes, which also have been featured in many of his recent setlists.

We start out today with one of Lorber's best-known, or at least most-covered, compositions, "Tune 88," heard here in a version recorded in March 2011 at the Berks Jazz Festival in Pennsylvania with a band including Marienthal, Haslip and trumpeter Randy Brecker.

Down below, there's a version of "Ain't Nobody," another concert staple for Lorber, recorded in July at the Sioux Falls Jazz Fest in South Dakota. Although the performance is interrupted briefly for an interview with Lorber, it does get back to the music soon enough, and features him stretching out nicely on keyboard, even dropping some Tynereque left-hand bombs near the end of his solo.

Below that, there's a version of "Dr. Moy" recorded last year at Jazz Alley in Seattle, featuring Lorber with Marienthal, Haslip and Yellowjackets drummer Will Kennedy. The fourth clip is "Surreptitious" from Lorber's 2007 album He Had a Hat, played by Lorber, Marienthal, bassist Nate Phillips and drummer Michael White. The fifth and final video is a version of Lorber's "Rain Dance," recorded at Pizza Express Jazz Club with guitarist Jeff Golub, drummer Andy Newmark and bassist Paul Turner.

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