Chuck Loeb's eBop (Shanachie) marks a significant departure for the popular smooth-jazz guitarist and producer. While he's well known for his melodic, highly appealing and stylistically diverse smooth-jazz tunes, Loeb possesses some serious jazz chops. He's also interested in electronica and club beats, and on eBop he combines jazzy guitar with intricately textured beats, grooves and rhythms.
Loeb's nimble guitar lines ride a snappy groove on the title track, and he turns in some very funky guitar, bass and keyboards on "Fool Proof." Gary Keller's flutes float sweetly over a slapping groove and harmonize with Loeb's guitar on "Brainstorm," while "Back at the Bistro" features an insistent dance-floor groove, Will Lee's funky bass line and organ accents from keyboardist Mike Ricchiuti, with Loeb's dexterous fingerwork skipping over it all. The dark, melancholy "Back Then" features expressive solos by saxophonist Chris Potter and Randy Brecker on flugelhorn, and Brecker's muted trumpet pierces layers of atmospheric keyboards on "Stained Glass." Adventurous and very satisfying, eBop reveals a new dimension to Loeb's already prodigious talent.