Jeff Lorber Fusion is back with another high-energy funk album. When I say high-energy, I mean this album could actually replace your morning coffee! The main players are back: Lorber, Jimmy Haslip, Gary Novak, and joining the fray on this project is veteran Andy Snitzer. They provide a nice, ten-track effort that will be a staple in your daily playlist.
What would a jazz album be without the guest appearances? Nathan East, Chuck Loeb, Larry Koonse, Paul Jackson Jr., and Dave Mann add to the star power here.
Jeff Lorber Fusion has been around since 1977, releasing their self titled album that year. In 1980, the band featured an up-and-coming artist….Kenny G. In 1982, Lorber released his first solo effort, It’s A Fact. Since then, in addition to the solo and the Fusion albums, Jeff has also produced artists, such as Richard Elliot, Gerald Albright, and Rick Braun, just to name a few.
Jeff Lorber Fusion Prototype Review
Prototype starts out with Hyperdrive. Nathan East makes a guest appearance on this track. Actually the song was written for East’s latest release, Reverence, but Jeff liked it so much he kept it for himself! I think the result turned out ok. East gets a credit on this album, and Lorber gets their lead single. Chuck Loeb also appears on the track.
The title track, Prototype, has a bluesy feel to it. Make no mistake, I am not talking about those “My baby left me” blues. This is blues with an injection of funk. Dave Mann plays the Sax on the track, and Michael Thompson gives us that solo at the end….kinda rock-ish, and I like it!
Test Drive is up next, and it has that “Killer Joe” type of beat. It also has a little rock infusion to give it a unique sound. What’s The Deal gives us a little Tower Of Power flavor, and if you don’t know what I am referring to, go listen to the Back To Oakland album, and you will understand.
Vienna is a classic Jeff Lorber Fusion track. There is no subtlety here, as all of the instruments are played at a fast pace. Lorber describes it as a bebop feeling, and it is a tribute to Porgy and Bess, a club in Vienna where the band loves to play.
The Badness and Hidden Agenda are two tracks that break down the tempo….just a little, but they each feature Lorber’s outstanding keyboard riffs. Gucci brings back that pace, and you could actually remix this to rival some of the best house music tracks that are out right now.
Park West is a track that sits tight in that pocket. One of those “Supperclub classics.”
So, after nine tracks, we get one downtempo track. River Song is just the right cool-down after 40 minutes of funk.
If you are after some variety in your playlist, Prototype is an album that you will definitely add. Mostly an uptempo effort, it has a couple of downbeat grooves to give it balance.
You can order Prototype here: