Jeff Lorber’s New CD “Hacienda” A Splash

Jeff Lorber Fusion, West Los Angeles, California. 30 May 2013. L-R: Eric Marienthal, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip.
Jeff Lorber Fusion, West Los Angeles, California. 30 May 2013. L-R: Eric Marienthal, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip.

Hello TPR followers!  For those of you who are Jeff Lorber fans, you are in for a real treat!  In August, Jeff’s new CD “Hacienda” dropped, and I think you’ll find it has been worth the wait!

I had the pleasure of first hearing Jeff play as lead man of the then Jeff Lorber Fusion; at that time he had settled down in the Portland, Oregon area (he’s a Philly native) and had been playing extensively up and down the west coast.  My first JLF album was his 1978 “Soft Space”; from the moment I listened, I knew I was hooked.  When I purchased “Wizard Island” two years later, I knew I was listening to someone special.  There aren’t many artists who are associated with being responsible for the evolution of a musical genre — many people associate Grover Washington, Jr. as the impetus behind the smooth jazz genre; well, Jeff Lorber is often credited as being the stimulus of the term “jazz fusion”.

I saw him in the late 70’s when he came thru San Francisco and played at The Old Waldorf on Battery St.  I had seen many jazz artist play at The Old Waldorf, but on this particular night the audience got a real treat; the common theme that ran thru the JLF performance that night was — “Who’s the little guy killing that sax?”.  Well, at the end of the set, Jeff announces that his sax player, Kenny Gorelick was going to be dropping his first solo album soon, and that we should look out for it.  Needless to say, Kenny G., has been a household name ever since.  But I digress …

“Hacienda” features, not only Jeff on keyboards, but several added treats.  If you’re a guitar lover, you won’t be disappointed with Paul Jackson Jr., as well as Eric Marienthal on saxophone, and special appearances by Larry Koonse on guitar as well as iconic violinist Jean Luc-Ponty (whom I also peeped back in the 70’s at the Berkeley Community Theater — but I’m digressing again).  The entire body of work on “Hacienda” is outstanding; Lorber is superb on keyboards; he has always walked the fine line between technical and funky — kind of Herbie Hancock-esque, but with his own special flare.  Marienthal, whom most of us have come to identify with the alto, performs a beautiful solo on tenor on the opening cut “Corinaldo”, and guitarist Larry Koonse is featured on “Solar Wind”.

I think you’ll enjoy this entire CD and it is well worth adding to your collection.  Also, by the time this review is published, Jeff will have come and gone from the A-T-L — he recently performed at Wolf Creek Amphitheater along with Ken Ford, Phil Perry, and Gerald Albright; and what a performance it was.  I just hope the audience appreciated what they were seeing / hearing.  It’s always tough when you’re one of several acts to perform because of time constraints; but to have Jeff Lorber on keyboards and the magnificent Jimmy Haslip on bass was truly a treat!

Check out the disc — you won’t be sorry!



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