By Scott Hayes
Hartford Jazz Examiner
Southern Connecticut State University’s jazz concert series picks up right Saturday night right where it left off in May with a dynamic smooth jazz trio dropping in to perform at the Lyman Performing Arts Center.
Keyboardist Jeff Lorber, saxophonist Everette Harp and guitarist Chuck Loeb bring their individual talents together as part of their Jazz/Funk/Soul tour that started August 31 in Arkansas at the Four States Fairgrounds in Texarkana. The group is playing at the Highline Ballroom in New York City September 25 before landing in New Haven two nights later. The Elm City concert is the fourth of five dates on the tour with Harp and Loeb, but Lorber is a prolific performer who tours with his own band, the Jeff Lorber Fusion, as well. Fusion played at Scullers Jazz Club in Boston September 6, and Lorber will be on the road with his Fusion band through October 11 before pairing up with Norwegian singer/songwriter Therese Ulvan October 14 in Norway, then the Budapest, Hungary Jazz Festival October 17 and back through Norway October 26 before rejoining his own band for November performances, including Denver on October 8 and Rancho Mirage, CA on October 20. The final Jazz/Funk/Soul tour date is November 20 in Cleveland.
Jazz/Funk/Soul is a 10-song collaboration with Harp, a Blue Note and Capitol Records recording artist, and Loeb. The music was released in June. Lorber’s visit bridges the gap in the college music series over the summer. Saxophonist Euge Groove, joined by trumpet player Rick Braun and guitarist Peter White filled Lyman Center to capacity in May.
Lorber played a part in the rising popularity of jazz fusion, a mix of traditional jazz and elements of rock ‘n’ roll, R&B and funk. Lorber, now 62, began playing piano at four years old and studied music at Berklee School of Music in Boston. He formed the Jeff Lorber Fusion band after college and relocated to Portland, Oregon before recording his first solo work, “It’s A Fact,” in 1983, followed by “Private Passion” in 1986. But Lorber then decided to become a studio musician, doing session work with other musicians and producing other artists.
He resumed his solo career in 1991 with “Worth Waiting For,” and since 2000, Lorber has recorded “Philly Style,” “Flip Side,” Blue Notes’ “He Had A Hat,” and “Heard That” on Peak Records. His three most recent recordings are “Now Is The Time,” “Galaxy” and 2013’s “Hacienda.” In all, Lorber has 25 contemporary jazz recordings.
For more information and ticket prices, visit www.scsu.com