Lorber to play Monroe Jazz FestivalWritten by Vicki L. Kroll | | email@example.com
Growing up in Philadelphia, Jeff Lorber remembers drifting off to sleep listening to his mother playing Debussy’s “Clair de Lune” and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” on the piano.
“It was just so nice to go to bed and hear someone playing this beautiful music,” he said. “I had two older sisters who were taking piano lessons; the piano was sort of the center of the house, so as soon as I got big enough I wanted to join in and have some of the fun that everybody was having.”
These days, he’s finding fun reviving the Jeff Lorber Fusion.
“Everybody we talked to seemed to think it was a great idea to bring the [band] name back and bring back the style of music that’s a little more jazzy, more up-tempo and exciting and funky,” he said.
The keyboardist returned to his roots, releasing “Now Is the Time” in 2010 under the Jeff Lorber Fusion name, which he used with his 1977 debut disc. The group released five albums before he went solo in 1982.
“[‘Now Is the Time’] was fairly successful; sales were good, and we were nominated for a Grammy and that was really nice,” Lorber said.
He said the fusion project will continue with a new disc, “Galaxy,” to be released, he hopes, this year. The Jeff Lorber Fusion will play the River Raisin Jazz Festival at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 14 at St. Mary’s Park in Monroe.
The event is free.
During a call to Toledo Free Press Star from his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., Lorber talked about who will take the stage with him at the festival.
“I have Eric Marienthal on the saxophone who is very well-known for his long career as a solo artist and also playing with Chick Corea. He also was featured on ‘Now Is the Time,’” Lorber said.
“I’ve got an amazing bass player that I think people are really going to be excited to see; his name is Anthony Crawford. He’s an incredible virtuoso on the bass. I’ve never seen anyone like this before,” he said. “On drums, I’ve got this terrific musician from New York, Lionel Cordew.
“I really like the quartet format because it creates a lot of space and a lot of room for freedom within that structure,” Lorber said.
“The art of jazz improvisation is a real interesting high-wire act. You just put yourself at the mercy of the moment and see what you can come up with, just try to improvise something great, and I think people really enjoy that. They feel that and feel that they’re part of the experience.”
River Raisin Jazz Festival
St. Mary’s Park, Monroe
Saturday, Aug. 13
- 1 p.m. The River Raisin Big Band
- 2:30 p.m. Jesse Coleman & The Jamm
- 4 p.m. Matt Marshak
- 5:45 p.m. Jeff Golub Band featuring Henry Butler
- 7:30 p.m. Alexander Zonjic & Friends with special guest Kenny G
Sunday, Aug. 14
- 1 p.m. The Bob Rex Trio
- 2:30 p.m. The Sean Dobbins Band
- 4 p.m. Tim Bowman
- 5:45 p.m. Nelson Rangell
- 7:30 p.m. The Jeff Lorber Fusion