Jeff Lorber Fusion – Space-Time (2021) [FLAC 24bit/96kHz]

Jeff Lorber Fusion – Space-Time (2021)
FLAC (tracks) 24bit/96kHz | Time – 39:38 minutes | 854 MB | Genre: Jazz
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Shanachie

JazzTimes is honored to present the premiere of Space-Time, the new album by the Grammy-winning Jeff Lorber Fusion, which will be officially released by Shanachie Records on Friday, July 2. On its 11 tracks, the core Fusion trio of keyboardist/composer/producer Jeff Lorber, bassist Jimmy Haslip, and drummer Gary Novak is joined by an array of notable guests, including flutist Hubert Laws; guitarists Paul Jackson, Jr., Michael Landau, and Robben Ford; and saxophonists Bob Mintzer, Dave Mann, Gary Meek, and Gerald Albright (the latter of whom actually plays bass here, on a track titled “Memorex”).

Keyboardist, composer, and producer Jeff Lorber didn’t let the COVID-19 pandemic slow him down. He spent much of 2020 producing artists — including Herb Alpert — while writing and demoing new tracks of his own. Longtime drummer Gary Novak regularly showed up at Lorber’s studio to record while social distancing. Bassist Jimmy Haslip added his parts via the Internet, and Lorber’s guests participated in the process the same way. That said, these 11 cuts are tight, seamlessly integrated, and come off with an organic energy. His guests are all old friends. The horn players include Bob Mintzer, David Mann, and Gary Meek; guitarists include Paul Jackson, Jr., Robben Ford, and Michael Landau. Hubert Laws lent his flute to a couple of jams, while saxophonist Gerald Albright actually played bass on “Memorex.” The double-time groove in the title cut opens the set as a breezy sprint. Lorber states the vamp on the Fender Rhodes, framed by synth bass and guitar as Novak and Haslip drive the tempo. Mintzer enters on the second chorus, extending its harmonic reach to the stratosphere without losing the groove. The bright, funky, bluesy interplay between Jackson’s guitar and Mann’s sax on “Back Room” is infectious. “Sun Princess” commences as a lithe, contemporary jazz groover. Lorber grafts on tenets of Pat Metheny’s euphoric harmonic vocabulary to frame his canny piano fills and solo. “Mind Reader” is one of two cuts that benefit from Ford’s guitar exchanges with Mintzer and Lorber. Momentarily referencing the vamp from Grover Washington, Jr.’s “Mister Magic,” the rhythm section funkily bumps and bounces around the front line, pushing them inside the melody. When they emerge, it’s as a unit soaring toward the horizon together. “Memorex” is cooking jazz-funk with knotty horn and keyboard lines contrasting melodic vamps and counterpoint as Albright’s popping bassline wrangles with the piano and Mann’s horns for dominance. “Louisiana” is uncharacteristic of the JLF. Drenched in Southern-flavored R&B, its lilting, sunny melody is intercut with elegant bass, sax, and keyboard lines — on piano, synths, and a B-3 — as Landau’s guitar channels the gritty funk of the Meters’ guitarist Leo Nocentelli. “Chick,” dedicated to the memory of Chick Corea, is pure fusion. The bubbling rhythm tracks are saturated with snare breaks and a churning, bumping bassline from Haslip framing Meek’s gorgeous soprano saxophone and Laws’ flute that join in an adventurous lyric statement. Ford returns with all burners cooking on “Truth.” Lorber offers his funkiest clavinet atop his layered keyboards, while the horn interplay between Mann and Mintzer is sumptuous, and deeply in the pocket. Lorber’s complex cadences underscore the earworm melodic hook, and he delivers a mean meat-and-potatoes jazz-funk solo. What makes Space-Time such a joyous and compelling listen are Lorber’s tunes. They are penned and arranged with uncommon detail, revealing the considerable strengths of his sidemen who, in turn, deliver savvy creativity, abundant technical facility, and wide-open joy in return. As a whole, Space-Time is flawless, resonant, and stands with Lorber’s best recordings. – Thom Jurek

01. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Space-Time
02. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Back Room
03. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Sun Princess
04. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Mind Reader
05. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Memorex
06. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Louisiana
07. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Curiosity
08. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Chick (Dedicated To Chick Corea)
09. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Day One
10. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Truth
11. Jeff Lorber Fusion – Memorex Reprise