Saturday, November 28, 2015

Jeff Lorber Fusion - 1980 "Wizard Island"

Wizard Island is the fourth album by Keyboardist Jeff Lorber as leader of his band "The Jeff Lorber Fusion".

Keyboardist Jeff Lorber cranked out many albums similar to this one in late '70s and early '80s. Each was superbly produced, utilizing state-of-the-art technology and synthesizers. They contained clever, sometimes catchy tunes, minimal solo space, concise and tightly edited arrangements, and usually hit home with light jazz/Adult and Urban Contemporary fans. 

A classic Jazz Fusion Album from one of the genre's best bands. I have such fond memories and thoughts of this album, growing up in Oakland, California. This album really shows off all of the band member's talents especially a young Kenny G., who was then known as Kenny Gorelick. This is the type of music I wish Kenny and Jeff would return to making, remembering their roots. Originally released in 1980, if you can get your hands on a copy of this tremendous album you won't be disappointed! Maestro Jeff's musicianship and Danny Wilson's thumping and popping will have you "movin', groovin and doin' it you know!" This band was tight. A superbly crafted piece of art with flawless mastering, mixing and musicianship, every cut a delight. This album is on my personal list of "Music to perserve for all time" or "The top 10 albums you would take in exile on a deserted isle!"

Jeff Lorber adds future solo muzak man Kenny Gorelick to his musical arsenal and delivers a second Arista album!Now this is an obvious follow up to "Water Sign" whitch I think could be recommended first but 'Wizard Island" features the dancable "Fusion Juice",the funky "City" and "Lava Lands",each of which features Lorber's intriguing horn-like synthesizer phrasing.The amazing feature here is Kenny's inventive,wailing sax solo's (absolutely nothing like what he's become known for as a solo
artist) so move over Yellowjackets and Spyro Gyra!The Jeff Lorber Fusion is definitely misclassified-being actually one of the jazzier fusion groups recording in the late 1970's and early

Simply put, this is a must-have Lorber CD, period! This was back when Kenny G actually had some fire to his playing. I still have this on vinyl and now CD and still listen to it regularly.
The band is super tight, energetic, and smokin'! Lorber has such a great feel for the keys and his playing is very tasty. The track 'Lava Lands' is my favorite and it just smokes. What a groove! Dennis Bradford holds it all together with some tight, funky, jazzy drumming. I love his drumming on this disc.
Sadly Jeff Lorber seens to be overlooked by way too many music fans and that is sad as the man is extremely talented. I've seen him in concert 3 times and he never disappoints. He has quite a few excellent releases in his catalog but like I said, this one in particular is a must-have!

Track listing

1.     "Wizard Island"       4:04
2.     "Sweet"           3:54
3.     "Can't Get Enough"       3:36
4.     "Reflections"       5:15
5.     "Fusion Juice"       4:09
6.     "Lava Lands"           3:56
7.     "Shadows"           3:56
8.     "City"            4:00
9.     "Rooftops"           3:47


    Jeff Lorber - Electric Piano, Acoustic Piano, Keyboards, Synthesizer
    Danny Wilson - Bass
    Dennis Bradford - Drums
    Jay Koder - Jazz & Acoustic Guitar
    Kenny Gorelick - Flute, Soprano Saxophone, Tenor Saxophone
    Paulinho Da Costa - Percussion
    Chick Corea - Keyboards on Rooftops