The press handout accompanying this release describes it as “a high-energy, jazz funk, fusion and soul collection”. But only one listening tells us any devotees of those particular areas of music will probably be disappointed by exposure to Zonjic, Lorber & Co. By any other name this is smooth jazz with pretensions to being a little more challenging.
Flautist Zonjic has not made an album for over 10 years, as his regular activities find him as artistic director to a number of music festivals around the Michigan area from spring to fall. Lorber seems to have taken a major hand in the project, performing, supplying five of the tunes, then producing and engineering.
Apart from the originals, we have a less than inspiring Nature Boy, a new version of Jethro Tull’s Living In The Past and a real nod to contemporary pop music with Adele’s Rolling In the Deep, supposedly triggered by Aretha Franklin’s version of the song.
There are solos – each one demanding much more than is delivered – hence this review comes with a warning to committed jazzers of all ages.
Jazz Café: Benita; Hipster; Night Crawler; Motor City Sway; Playing It Forward; Musaic; Living In The Past; Nature Boy; Bottom Heat; Rolling In The Deep (46.47)
Zonjic (f); Jeff Lorber (kyb, syn b, g); Chuck Loeb (g); Gary Novak (d); Paul Jackson Jr. (g) plus others. 2020.