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Heard That

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Album Review

It was some measure of the peculiarities of music marketing that 2008's Heard That, veteran keyboardist Jeff Lorber's debut for Peak Records, was categorized as "contemporary jazz," even though its musical style was essentially the same brand of pop-jazz fusion he had been playing since his first recording more than three decades earlier. But it was also some measure of the state of jazz itself, which arguably not only had not "progressed" since 1977, but had actually "regressed," with many musicians re-investigating the traditional jazz that preceded "contemporary jazz." Heard That was "contemporary jazz" in the sense that nothing had come along that was any more modern than what Lorber and his associates came up with originally. Still, a listener encountering this album without any foreknowledge would be likely to take in the popping basslines, wah-wah guitar riffs, funk rhythms, occasional R&B vocals, and, of course, the leader's melodic soloing, usually on the electronic piano, and suppose that the 1970s never ended. A technical exception to that impression might come with the second track, Lorber's version of Amy Winehouse's hit "Rehab." But, of course, that tune itself sounds like something from the '60s, in particular the Ramsey Lewis jazz/pop hit "The In Crowd," a song Lorber covered already. On the disc, Lorber collaborated closely with Rex Rideout, who co-produced with him and even joined in on keyboards, here and there, such that it was impossible to tell which of them was playing at any given moment. But the result still sounded like Lorber. Maybe the time had come to invent a new name for music played in this style. Could there be such a thing as "retro-contemporary jazz"? If so, it might sound like this.

Customer Reviews

Glad to "Hear That Again"

I only like "Smoothjazz" depending on the artist. That said, Jeff Lorber delivers again. Glad he went back to ol skool Lorber, though I loved his "He had a Hat" also. You never leave your signature sound. This album is great from the start. Lorber has never disappoint. Given his true fans what they always loved: The Funk! "The Bomb" is one of my favorite at the moment. The whole album is funky. Nothing tired about this joint. Glad to hear it again!

Dr James Elder III

He's the man when it comes to fusion.

My First Jeff Lorber CD

To be honest, other than Spyro Gyra and Jon Luc Ponty, my Jazz selection is limited. I subscribe to Keyboard Magazine (hmm Editor in Chief Ernie Rideout and Rex Rideout, related?) and they did an article on him and well known seemingly as the godfather of keyboards, I checked out the 30 sec samples and when I bought the LP (oh I'm sorry I'm old school, err download) I was not disappointed!'s my first but won't be my last, phenomonal beyond words.


Born: November 4, 1952 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With a smooth sound bringing together elements of funk, R&B, rock, and electric jazz, keyboardist Jeff Lorber helped pioneer a genre of fusion later formatted under such names as NAC and contemporary jazz. Born in Philadelphia on November 4, 1952, he began playing the piano at the age of four, and as a teen performed with a variety of local R&B bands. Lorber's infatuation with jazz began during his stay at the Berklee College of Music, and after forming the Jeff Lorber Fusion he issued the group's...
Full Bio
Heard That, Jeff Lorber
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Customer Ratings