Jeff Lorber balances modern and retro styles on his rhythmically varied outing Flipside (Narada). The veteran smooth-jazz keyboardist exhibits his jazzy side on tunes such as the swinging title track, but he adds a contemporary twist: Rather than using the an upright bass, Lorber uses a synth bass that actually sounds like the acoustic instrument. "Sun Ra" is all soulful Rhodes and horn punctuation over a light reggae rhythm, while "Ooh La La"-another reggae-flavored number-combines the acoustic-sounding synth bass with a bright piano melody and textured percussion from Lenny Castro. Castro offers some quasi-tribal rhythms on the funky "Everybody Knows That," and the cello-augmented "By My Side" features a simple piano melody propelled by Robbie Nevil's guitar and Castro's sweeping percussion.
Lorber revisits the past on "Tune 88," one of his older compositions, which he performs with a Wurlitzer organ, bass and congas trio, perfectly exemplifying his classic-contemporary approach on Flipside.