Jeff Lorber Fusion: Space-Time

Lorber's 13th album keeps up the mix of sleek funk and expert improvisation, featuring Haslip, Mintzer, Landau and more

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Having been together since 1977, the Jeff Lorber Fusion now release their 13th album, with a host of musicians joining the trio of Lorber, drummer Gary Novak and bassist and co-producer Jimmy Haslip.

The opening track, Space-Time, is a light, upbeat piece in which Lorber plays not only keys but also synth bass and guitar, featuring some melodic unison between Lorber and Bob Mintzer on tenor sax. Setting the tone for the rest of the album, the atmosphere is rich and textured, with expert improvisation.

For the soulful second track, Back Room, David Mann provides the horn arrangement and performance, while Paul Jackson Jr. adds reserved, clean electric guitar vamping before a brief but tasteful solo. Veteran session guitarist Michael Landau also features on several tracks, offering subtle licks and melodic inflections throughout the powerful Sun Princess, and both electric and nylon-stringed guitar on the grooving Louisiana and laid back Day One. If two legendary guitarists wasn’t enough, Robben Ford also makes several appearances, lending his expertise to the fourth track Mind Reader, and the seventh, Curiosity.

The eighth track is Lorber’s tribute to Chick Corea, with whom he first worked on his second album, Soft Space, in 1978. The track echoes Corea’s style superbly, with an excellent funk bass line from Jimmy Haslip, Lorber’s staccato electric keyboard, and a soaring lead from Gary Meek and Hubert Laws on soprano sax and flute.

While there are a variety of different guests on the album, Lorber’s vision for the record is clear throughout. The legacy of fusion that Lorber and his peers are a part of is present, but the album remains innovative and engaging.

Discography
Space-Time; Back Room; Sun Princess; Mind Reader; Memorex; Louisiana; Curiosity; Chick; Day One; Truth; Memorex Reprise (37.38)
Lorber (kyb, syn, g); Bob Mintzer (ts); Gary Meek (ss); Hubert Laws (f); Paul Jackson Jr., Robben Ford (elg); Michael Landau (elg, g); Gerald Albright, Jimmy Haslip (b); Gary Novak (d); David Mann (arr). California, New York, Tennessee, 2020.
Shanachie 5488