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|Born||November 4, 1952|
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
|Genres||Jazz, smooth jazz, jazz pop|
|Occupation(s)||Musician, composer, record producer|
|Labels||Inner City, Blue Note, Narada, Zebra, Verve, Warner Bros., Arista, Peak|
|Associated acts||Michael Jeffries, Karyn White|
Jeffrey H. Lorber (born November 4, 1952) is an American keyboardist, composer, and record producer. After six previous nominations, Lorber won his first Grammy Award on Jan. 28, 2018 for Best Contemporary Instrumental Album for Prototype by his band The Jeff Lorber Fusion.
Many of his songs have appeared on The Weather Channel's Local on the 8s segments and 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 album He Had a Hat (Blue Note, 2007)
Lorber was born to a Jewish family in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania, the same suburb as Michael and Randy Brecker, with whom he would later play. He started to play the piano when he was four years old. After playing in a number of R&B bands as a teen, he attended Berklee College of Music, where he developed his love for jazz. At Berklee he met and played alongside guitarist John Scofield. He moved to Vancouver, Washington in 1972. For several years he studied chemistry at Boston University.
Jeff Lorber Fusion
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 drummer Dennis Bradford, he recorded five studio albums under this moniker. These early albums 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 songs. Like his contemporaries, Lorber performed on multiple keyboard instruments, including piano, Rhodes piano, and analog synthesizers, often favoring the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5. The Jeff Lorber Fusion's 1980 album, Wizard Island, introduced saxophonist Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, better known as Kenny G.
In 1982, Lorber recorded his first solo album, It's a Fact, which explored his R&B roots with a smoother, more synthesizer-heavy sound. The album included a new backing band and former Fusion members 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.
In 1984 he released In the Heat of the Night and Lift Off. Later that year, he and the production duo of David Frank and Mic Murphy, otherwise known as The System, produced 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 No. 27 on the Billboard Hot 100 and No. 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 was a mistake.
Lorber's keyboard work appeared in the 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 albums continued to evolve in a smooth jazz direction. Two greatest hits compilation albums were released in 2000 and 2002. Flipside (2005) 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 for Best Pop Instrumental Album. In 2018, he received a Grammy for his album Prototype in the Best Contemporary Instrumental Album category.
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. His daughters have it and his mother and sister died from it.
With the Jeff Lorber Fusion
- The Jeff Lorber Fusion (Inner City, 1977)
- Soft Space (Inner City, 1978)
- Water Sign (Arista, 1979)
- Wizard Island (Arista, 1980)
- Galaxian (Arista, 1981)
- Now Is The Time (Heads Up-Concord, 2010)
- Galaxy (Heads Up-Concord, 2011)
- Hacienda (Heads Up-Concord, 2013)
- Step It Up (Heads Up-Concord, 2015)
- Prototype (Shanachie, 2017)
- Impact (Shanachie, 2018)
- It's a Fact (Arista, 1982)
- In the Heat of the Night (Arista, 1984)
- Step by Step (Arista, 1985)
- Private Passion (Warner Bros., 1986)
- Worth Waiting For (Verve Forecast, 1993)
- West Side Stories (Verve Forecast, 1994)
- State of Grace (Verve Forecast, 1996)
- Midnight (Zebra-WEA, 1998; reissue: 2004, Narada-EMI)
- Kickin' It (Gold Circle-Samson, 2001; reissue: 2004, Narada-EMI)
- Philly Style (Narada-EMI, 2003)
- Flipside (Narada-EMI, 2005)
- He Had a Hat (Blue Note-EMI, 2007)
- Heard That (Peak-Concord, 2008)
With Jazz Funk Soul
- Jazz Funk Soul (Shanachie, 2014)
- More Serious Business (Shanachie, 2016)
- It Remains to be Seen, Afro Elements (Freestyle, 2007)
- 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.
- 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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