Jazz Funk Soul – More Serious Business

Jan. 25, 2016

Roughly 1 ½ years ago, we were introduced to the powerful fusion of three dynamic jazz greats, already established and renowned in their Jazz Funk Soulown right individually, fusion pioneer Jeff Lorber, legendary guitarist and current Fourplay member Chuck Loeb, and the polished, popular jazz-savvy Everette Harp – collectively known as Jazz Funk Soul. Their debut, self-titled release proved beyond a doubt that c-jazz in its finest hour will always be a top-tier genre with body, presence, and groove. Their latest release, More Serious Business, is just that – loads of fun but strictly serious jazz business as these guys take pure, meticulous jazz fusion to a new and wondrous level.

Each of these giants has demonstrated the mastery of jazz individually. Collectively, they have sold millions and produced for or shared the stage with luminaries from almost every genre, including Bob James, Chaka Khan, Aretha Franklin, Bob Dylan, and countless others.

The new album digs a little deeper into the creativity of these guys, as you’ll quickly find with tracks like the poppin’ Lorber-tinged aptly titled lead track “Our Thing,” the more subdued but strikingly melodic “Connections” (one of my personal faves), “Tuesday Swings”(a Harp-penned tune that literally does just that), the strollin’ mid-tempo “Fall Departs,” co-written by Loeb, Lorber, and Nathan East, with its smart jazz runs and chords that let one know this is what I like to call “grown folks’ music,” “Gamblin’,” another snappy Lorber-written track featuring guitarist Paul Jackson Jr., the unique and exotic Harp creation “Timmendorfer By the Sea,” the jammin’, funky title track, and so much more.

Among those joining the immensely adept trio (besides guitarist Jackson) are longtime Lorber cohort drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, sax giant/flutist/horn arranger David Mann, and, whenever Lorber’s not manning the synth bass, bassist Alex Al. Other accomplished and artsy musicians float in and out on this project, as well. Well-rounded might be a very apropos term for this endeavor.

Knowing these guys as many of you do, you know you’re getting some soul-deep effort here. How is it that one will always take a chance on a proven artist’s work, and how will that artist know when he or she has what will prove to be appealing to his or her fans? As the title of one of the funkiest jams on this album states: “You’ll Know When You Know.” It’s all about the feel and the vibe, and that’s all here. – Ronald Jackson