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November 4, 1952 |
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, record producer|
|Instruments||Piano, keyboards, guitar|
Peak (since 2008)
|Associated acts||Michael Jeffries, Karyn White|
Jeff Lorber (born November 4, 1952) is an American keyboardist, composer, and record producer.
Many of his songs have been featured on The Weather Channel's Local On The 8s segments, including appearances on the channel's compilation albums, The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz and The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II. He was nominated for a Grammy Award for his 2007 Blue Note Records release He Had a Hat.
Lorber was born to a Jewish family in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, the same suburb as fellow musicians Michael and Randy Brecker, with whom he would later play. He started to play the piano when he was four years old and after playing in a number of R&B bands as a teen, went on to attend Berklee College of Music, where he developed his love for jazz and he met and played alongside guitarist John Scofield. He moved to Vancouver, Washington in 1972. He also studied chemistry at Boston University for several years.
The Jeff Lorber Fusion (1977-1981)
His first group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, released their self-titled debut album in 1977 on Inner City Records. Supported by a revolving cast of musicians including longtime drummer Dennis Bradford, Lorber recorded five studio albums under this moniker. These early releases showcased a funky sound influenced by other jazz fusion practitioners such as Herbie Hancock, Weather Report and Return to Forever, the latter's Chick Corea appearing on several Fusion cuts. Like his contemporaries, Lorber performed on multiple keyboard instruments including piano, Rhodes piano, and various analog synthesizers, often favoring the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5.
"Rain Dance", found on the 1979 album Water Sign, was sampled for the 1996 Lil' Kim single "Crush On You". It was also sampled for the track "Love Like This" (featuring Lil' Cease) on SWV's 1997 album, Release Some Tension.
Solo career (1982-present)
In 1982, Lorber recorded his first solo album It's a Fact, which explored Lorber's R&B roots with a smoother, more synth-heavy sound. The album featured a new backing band as well as contributions from former Fusion bandmate Kenny G and Paulinho Da Costa. It's A Fact also contained several songs with vocalists, a stark contrast to the instrumental recordings of the Fusion.
1984 was a prolific year for Lorber, who followed up his solo debut with In the Heat of the Night and Lift Off. Later that year, Lorber teamed up with the production duo David Frank and Mic Murphy, otherwise known as The System, to produce his most successful effort to date, Step By Step. The title track, written with Anita Pointer of The Pointer Sisters, rose to number 31 on the U.S. Billboard R&B chart. The song "Facts Of Love" (featuring Karyn White) from the 1986 album Private Passion was his biggest chart hit, reaching #27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and #17 on the R&B chart. Several singles from this period also appeared on the Billboard Dance charts. However, Lorber was not satisfied that he was being overtaken by a more vocal and R & B feel on his own albums so he took a seven-year-long hiatus. After Step by Step, he quoted Clive Davis as telling him, "We really want you to put more vocals on your records", which Lorber thought as a mistake.
Lorber's keyboard work was featured in the PlayStation video game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. His input can be heard during the game's closing theme song "I Am the Wind" (which also featured the saxophonist Gerald Albright).
His subsequent albums continued to evolve in a smooth jazz direction. Two greatest hits compilation albums, The Definitive Collection and The Very Best of Jeff Lorber, were released in 2000 and 2002 respectively. To date, he has recorded a dozen solo albums, including 2005's Flipside which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category. At the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, his 2013 album Hacienda was nominated Best Pop Instrumental Album.
Lorber has done extensive production and session work for other artists including Dave Koz, Eric Benet, Herb Alpert and Laura Branigan. In addition to his recording and performing, Lorber also hosts his own show on Sirius Satellite Radio.
In 2004, Lorber was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease and received a successful kidney transplant from his wife, Mink. He has served as a spokesman for the PKD Foundation, an organization for fighting polycystic kidney disease. He has mentioned that the disease is common in his family, that not only do his daughters, Nica and Jessica, have it but his mother and sister died from it.
Studio albums (The Jeff Lorber Fusion)
- The Jeff Lorber Fusion (1977, Inner City)
- Soft Space (1978, Inner City)
- Water Sign (1979, Arista)
- Wizard Island (1980, Arista)
- Galaxian (1981, Arista)
- Now Is The Time (2010, Heads Up)
- Galaxy (2012)
- Hacienda (2013)
- Step It Up (2015)
Studio albums (solo career)
- It's a Fact (1982, Arista)
- In the Heat of the Night (1984, Arista)
- Lift Off (1984, Arista)
- Step by Step (1985, Arista)
- Private Passion (1986, Warner Bros.)
- Worth Waiting For (1993, Verve Forecast)
- West Side Stories (1994, Verve Forecast)
- State of Grace (1996, Verve Forecast)
- Midnight (1998, Zebra)
- Kickin' It (2001, Samson)
- Philly Style (2003, Narada Jazz)
- Flipside (2005, Narada Jazz)
- He Had a Hat (2007, Blue Note)
- Heard That (2008, Peak)
- Soergel, Brian (May 2001). "Jeff Lorber Kickin' Back". jazztimes.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- "Interview with Jeff Lorber". jazzmonthly.com. May 2007. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Ankeny, Jason (1952-11-04). "Jeff Lorber - Music Biography, Credits and Discography". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- "C.J.: Jeff Lorber, pioneer of smooth jazz who'll do it as long as he can". startribune.com. 2013-08-24. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Hogan, Ed (2000-02-22). "Step by Step - Jeff Lorber : Listen, Appearances, Song Review". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- Wynn, Ron. "Step By Step - Jeff Lorber : Songs, Reviews, Credits, Awards". AllMusic. Retrieved 2013-03-28.
- Campbell, Mary (1985-08-25). "Jeff Lorber Switching Musical Style Away From Fusion". Associated Press. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "FOR THE RECORD, THIS DROPOUT IS BACK". The Philadelphia Inquirer. 1995-02-24. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- Nowlin, Rick (2011-03-20). "Jeff Lorber still fusing jazz elements after all these years". post-gazette.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
- "Castlevania: Symphony of the Night (1997) PlayStation credits". MobyGames. 1997-03-20. Retrieved 2012-04-09.
- "The 48th Annual GRAMMY Awards Roundup: Pop/Dance Fields". grammy.org. 2006-01-27. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- "Exploring The Pop Field Nominees". grammy.com. 2013-12-16. Retrieved 2013-12-25.
- [dead link]
- Goddard, Lisa (2008-04-06). "Music fest in Riviera Beach to feature range of artists". sun-sentinel.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- "Jeff Lorber - Yamaha Artists". yamaha.com. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- Shelton, Eleanor (2009-05-15). "Living Legends Concert Features Jazz Keyboardist Jeff Lorber". wccnet.edu. Retrieved 2013-11-30.
- Redley, Simon. "Life Really Is A Gift For Jazz Fusion Star Jeff Lorber". bluesandsoul.com. Retrieved 2013-11-27.
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