Musical Stylings of Jeff Lorber Fusion

The group began in 1977, around the time that groups like Steely Dan, Earth, Wind, and Fire could be heard across the United States introducing a new generation of listeners to the possibilities when jazz elements were added to rock music and R&B respectively.

By 1982, Jeff Lorber had gone solo with an album called “It’s A Fact.” The 1980s and 1990s proved successful: Lorber’s solo work was nominated for a Grammy for the first time in 1986. That track record continued in the 21st century when, of nine albums released both solo and with Fusion between 2001 and 2015, several were nominated for Grammys.

New Fusion Work

One listen to the song “Prototype” by Jeff Lorber Fusion and audiences know that this is a group influenced by jazz, R&B, and Gospel music. Every element of the song demonstrates an element of another genre. The soulful blues groove displayed on “Prototype” (which is also the title of the album) is catchy. It features interesting interplay between guitar and saxophone that keeps the song moving. Even when the rhythm becomes familiar, it never gets old. This is a song to dance to, to listen to.

The bass is nimble, and the production clean enough that every instrument can be heard loud and clear. As a mid-tempo song, it has the right sound and rhythm to get a room full of people up and dancing.  At times, the long notes give way to a Gospel music-inspired staccato, and when the original groove comes back, it is not necessarily expected, but it sounds like a triumph.

With a listen to just the title track, expectations are set high for this album. But with the members’ history of success and an apparent commitment to fusion, fans of jazz, and fans of Jeff Lorber Fusion will not be disappointed.


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Dodie Miller-Gould is a native of Fort Wayne, Indiana. She has BA and MA degrees in English from Indiana University-Purdue University, Fort Wayne, and an MFA in Fiction from Minnesota State University, Mankato. Her research interests include popular music and culture, 1920s jazz, and blues, confessional poetry, and the rhetoric of fiction. She has presented at numerous conferences in rhetoric and composition, and creative writing. Her creative works have appeared in Tenth Muse, Apostrophe, The Flying Island, Scavenger's Newsletter and elsewhere. She has won university-based awards for creative work and literary criticism.

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