Jeff Lorber - Now Is The Time (2010)

Jeff Lorber
Jeff_Lorber-NowIsTheTime.jpg
Click on CD cover
to listen or purchase
Jeff Lorber is often referred to as a "jazz veteran." His professional roots in the music go back to the 1970s when the fusion giants roamed the land. Back then, Lorber fronted a group called Jeff Lorber Fusion, and he played that funky brew of jazz, funk and rock. In the 1980s, Lorber flipped the script, going solo and moving into the more radio friendly jazz/R&B hybrid known as smooth jazz. The keyboard player also added vocalists such as Gavin Christopher and a then-new female vocalist named Karyn White to the mix. The Lorber/White combo scored a big hit in 1986 with the "Facts of Love," and that was probably the introduction to his music for R&B fans. White would go on to have a pretty solid career as a soloist in the late 1980s and early 90s.

Meanwhile, Lorber continued as a instrumental music leader, putting out a series of solid contemporary/smooth jazz albums.

Jeff Lorber is often referred to as a "jazz veteran." His professional roots in the music go back to the 1970s when the fusion giants roamed the land. Back then, Lorber fronted a group called Jeff Lorber Fusion, and he played that funky brew of jazz, funk and rock. In the 1980s, Lorber flipped the script, going solo and moving into the more radio friendly jazz/R&B hybrid known as smooth jazz. The keyboard player also added vocalists such as Gavin Christopher and a then-new female vocalist named Karyn White to the mix. The Lorber/White combo scored a big hit in 1986 with the "Facts of Love," and that was probably the introduction to his music for R&B fans. White would go on to have a pretty solid career as a soloist in the late 1980s and early 90s.

Meanwhile, Lorber continued as a instrumental music leader, putting out a series of solid contemporary/smooth jazz albums. Now Is the Time, Lorber's latest album, is a good quality overview of the music that he has released over his 30 plus year career.  On it, Lorber largely goes back to his fusion roots and avoids the sound-alike rut that has plagued some modern smooth jazz.  This is especially true on featured tracks like the opening number, "Mysterious Traveler" and on the up-tempo track "Chinese Medicinal Herbs."

It is refreshing whenever a musician like Lorber chooses to challenge his listeners by reintroducing them to daring music like jazz-fusion. It was also refreshing to see how Lorber is willing to kick up the jazz quotient on the R&B influenced tunes that he includes on Now Is the Time. That is definitely the case on the ballad "Curtains/Before We Go." This song combines the accessible R&B that Lorber made starting in the 1980s with some deft jazz musicianship.

With its radio friendly R&B songs and instrumentals that cover the scope of electrified jazz, Now Is the Time is a listener's album. Lorber engages any person who has been into his music from the time he broke out with Jeff Lorber Fusion until now. Now Is the Time stands as one of those instances when the effort to provide something for everybody creates something worthwhile for everybody. Recommended.

By Howard Dukes

 
Choice Cut - Kenya - "Favorite Things"
Choice Cut - Sy Smith - "Camelot"
Featured Album - Conya Doss - CLEAR
See The Nominees! - SoulTracks Readers' Choice Awards

Leave a comment!