Definitive Collection Original recording remastered, Import
Just over 20 years ago, long before the coining of the terms "new adult contemporary" and "smooth jazz," keyboardist Jeff Lorber generated a loyal following for a synthesis of sound so fresh and distinctive that only one name could really define it: the Jeff Lorber Fusion. Drawing elements from the artists he admired--Earth, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Miles Davis, and Weather Report--Lorber fashioned a jazzy funk hybrid that--with the exception of a few disco effects--sounds more fresh than retro even today. The Definitive Collection picks gems from the six Jeff Lorber Fusion LPs that Arista released between 1979 and 1985. The buoyant funk tune "Fusion Juice" sums up the spirit and percussive energy the band had and that the keyboardist has carried into his popular 1990s work. The 16 tracks perfectly represent a time that postdates hard-core, early 1970s jazz-fusion and predates smooth jazz. Despite the glorious melodies, beautiful keyboard passages, and irresistible funk, a few of the spacey synth solos are conspicuously cornball when played today. While Lorber lovers and serious modern-jazz collectors will no doubt thrill to get their hands on this wealth of classic material, fans of both smooth jazz and pop music who don't know Lorber from Count Basie may want to hear it for another reason: the early development of a then-obscure Seattle saxophonist known as Kenny Gorelick (later known as multimillion selling Kenny G). G fans will immediately recognize his soprano tones on the dreamy "Tierra Verde" but will have a harder time picking out his funkier style in the slamming, discoesque "Fusion Juice." This collection is perfect for fans of Lorber's recent smooth-jazz recordings as well as longtime fans that would love to hear these classics fully remastered, without pops and hisses. --Jonathan Widran
This is a great collection for both newcomers and fans as you'll at least be able to hear some of that early stuff. Definitely add "Wizard Island" to your collection as well as that's a classic.