born on 4/11/1952 in Philadelphia, PA, United States
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 Jeff Lorber Fusion.
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.
The Jeff Lorber Fusion's 1980 album, Wizard Island, introduced a young saxophonist, Kenneth Bruce Gorelick, better known as Kenny G.
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.
In 2018, Lorber received a Grammy for his album Prototype, in the "Best Contemporary Instrumental Album" catagory. His track "What's the deal", from the same album, is featured in the film, London Fields.
Lorber has done extensive production and session work for other artists including Dave Koz, Eric Benét, 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 1026)
- Soft Space (1978, Inner City 1056)
- Water Sign (1979, Arista 4234)
- Wizard Island (1980, Arista 9516)
- Galaxian (1981, Arista 9545)
- Now Is The Time (2010, Heads Up-Concord 32029)
- Galaxy (2011, Heads Up-Concord 33173)
- Hacienda (2013, Heads Up-Concord 34476)
- Step It Up (2015, Heads Up-Concord 37938)
- Prototype (2017, Shanachie 5449)
Studio albums (Lorber's solo career)
- It's a Fact (1982, Arista 9583)
- In the Heat of the Night (1984, Arista 8025)
- Step by Step (1985, Arista 8269)
- Private Passion (1986, Warner Bros. 25492)
- Worth Waiting For (1993, Verve Forecast 517998)
- West Side Stories (1994, Verve Forecast 523738)
- State of Grace (1996, Verve Forecast 531555)
- Midnight (1998, Zebra-WEA 44013; reissue: 2004, Narada Jazz-EMI 74338)
- Kickin' It (2001, Gold Circle-Samson GC-20000; reissue: 2004, Narada Jazz-EMI 74337)
- Philly Style (2003, Narada Jazz-EMI 80390)
- Flipside (2005, Narada Jazz-EMI 73124)
- He Had a Hat (2007, Blue Note-EMI 55611)
- Heard That (2008, Peak-Concord 30724)
- Lift Off (1984, Arista 8393) compilation of the two Inner City albums: 8 tracks from TJLF (1977) and 6 tracks from Soft Space (1978).
- The Definitive Collection (2000, Arista 14639) compilation of material recorded between 1979-1985.
- The Very Best of Jeff Lorber (2002, GRP/Verve-UMe 440065075) compilation of material recorded between 1993-2001.
Jazz Funk Soul (Jeff Lorber, Chuck Loeb, Everette Harp)
- Jazz Funk Soul (2014, Shanachie)
- More Serious Business (2016, Shanachie)
- It Remains to be Seen, Afro Elements (2007, Freestyle (UK)/Swanky (Japan) | 2014, UYM)
- 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.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Jeff Lorber.|
- Official site
- Jeff Lorber Interview at allaboutjazz.com
- Interview at jazzmonthly.com