All About Jazz needs your help and we have a deal. Pay $20 and we'll hide those six pesky Google ads that appear on every page, plus this box and the slideout box on the right for a full year! You'll also fund website expansion.
Don't call it a comeback. Call it a throwback. In a time when many of the major players of the fusion era have unplugged, keyboardist Jeff Lorber not only keeps grinding away, he's doubling down. Not by coincidence is Galaxy billed as a Jeff Lorber Fusion project rather than a Lorber solo project. This is clearly an artist not the least bit embarrassed by his roots in jazz fusion. If anything, with smooth jazz evaporating as a dominant style, now might be the right time for fusion to find itself back in the game once again.
Lorber is a master of many keyboards but his preferred weapon of choice is the Rhodes electric piano and it is heavily featured here. Haslip shares the production duties as well as co-writing five of the tunes with Lorber. Supported by David Mann's horn arrangements, Marienthal contributes alto, soprano and tenor saxophones, with Randy Brecker adding his trumpet to "Singaraja" and "Wizard Island."
For the discerning ear there is a clear distinction between fusion and it close relative, smooth jazz. Lorber is comfortable in both genres, but Galaxy plants its feet firmly in the fusion camp. The seven-minute opener, "Live Wire," may seem like seasoned pros idly riffing, but there's far more going on in the way the song twists and turns than simple jamming. What makes fusion endure is it is as demanding of technical proficiency as any other style of jazz.
The only blemishes show up when Lorber gets a little too complacent, and the material in the latter half of the album lapses into a repetitive blur without enough distinctive solos or hooks to be truly unique. Lorber has leaned further toward creating funky rhythms the listener can groove to without necessarily as going so far as to produce simple dance music, and Galaxy successfully manages to be energetic, complex and spontaneous. Lorber, Haslip and Marienthal kick the year off with a superb high energy performance that adroitly avoids the trap of shallow virtuosity and dead alley musical clichés.
Track Listing: Live Wire; Big Brother; Montserrat; Singaraja; Galaxy; City; Horace; The Samba; Rapids; Wizard Island; The Underground.
Personnel: Jeff Lorber: Rhodes, synth bass,loops, piano, minimoog, guitar; Jimmy Haslip: bass, electric bass, bass solos, synth horn arrangement; Michael Thompson: guitar (1-3); Andre Theander (1, 3): guitar; Larry Koonse: guitar solo (1, 4, 8); Vinnie Colaiuta: drums (1-4, 6-11); Lenny Castro: percussion; Eric Marienthal: alto saxophone (2, 3, 6, 9), soprano saxophone (4, 5, 11), tenor saxophone (10); Dave Mann: horn arrangement and performance (2, 3, 6, 7, 9, 10); Paul Jackson, Jr. : guitars (4, 6, 7, 9, 11); Randy Brecker: trumpet (4, 10); Dave Weckl: drums, drum engineering (5).
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach
I was first exposed to jazz when I was studying at the University of Puerto Rico. Nearby, I found a little record shop where the music coming from the store (Taller de Jazz Don Pedro) made me stop. I walked down the short stairs and towards the music and learned that the music playing was Clifford Brown and Max Roach. I fell in love with it. I wondered around until the owner (Pedro Soto) asked if I needed help. He then introduced me to John Coltrane, Miles Davis, Gerry Mulligan and the rest is history. I walked out of the store with my first jazz recording: Clifford Brown and Max Roach at Basin Street.