Wow! We’re flattered! Who’d have thought that three star jazzers would come together to form a band and name themselves after out little old web site! Well not quite! Let’s explain – for some time sax maestro, EVERETTE HARP, keyboardist JEFF LORBER and sadly departed guitarist CHUCK LOEB have come together to record as JAZZ FUNK SOUL (JFS …yes an anagram of us… “SJF”!) and though it’s been a while the trio (with PAUL JACKSON Jr. now in Loeb’s role) have just unleashed their latest album, ‘Forecast’, a blistering set of ten instrumentals that offer lashings of , yes, jazz, funk and soul. It’s classic smooth jazz as it used to be. Never bland or “lite”; rather, it’s passionate, and always with a soulful undertow. But then what would expect from such a garlanded trio?
Between them, Harp, Lorber and Jackson have played with everyone – I mean, Quincy Jones, Aretha Franklin and B.B. King for starters! Then there is their own enviable back catalogues (millions of sales and a long list of smooth jazz hits) but though each of the threesome is a virtuoso, accomplished bandleader, composer, and producer in their own right, here on ‘Forecast’ there are no egos. The album is a team effort. Harp says: “We each bring our own interpretations of Contemporary and Mainstream Jazz together in a way that allows us to break the bonds of the normal approach to Smooth Jazz. By using our years of collective vocabulary we freely express ourselves musically using everything we have at our disposal”.
Right across the ten tracks of ‘Forecast’ there is an obvious chemistry and camaraderie. Jeff Lorber: “All of us love music, especially Jazz, not to mention Funk and Soul! Our unique talents complement each other. Paul is well known as an ace session player and one of the finest rhythm guitarists in the world, and Everette is a force of nature with the saxophone. I enjoy comping behind and supporting these guys, and also tossing in some of my blues and be-bop licks when I solo.”
‘Forecast’ is an album for proper old school smooth jazz connoisseurs and maybe the track that best sums up what the trio achieve is the driving ‘Funkin’ In AZ’. Here the obvious reference point is David Sanborn (Harp freely admits his respect for the vet sax man) and with Marcus Miller guesting on bass you can guess the soundscape. Most poignant track is the closing ‘CSL (For Charles Samuel Loeb)’ . A gentler sound (obviously) than the rest of the album , but no less soulful.
If like me you enjoyed a classical education, you might know that “Omne trium perfectum” means – everything that comes in threes is perfect. Here’s the proof.
JAZZ FUNK SOUL- FORECAST out now via SHANACHIE.