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Jeff Lorber Fusion: Galaxy

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On his last record, 2010’s Now Is the Time, Jeff Lorber reclaimed the long-lost “fusion” part of his band name and brand identity. With Bobby Colomby and Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip co-producing, the keyboardist and composer deemphasized smooth-jazz values in favor of his old approach, which split the difference between vintage jazz-rock fusion and punchy grooves rooted in funk and R&B.

Lorber, with Haslip again co-producing and many of the same musicians in tow, including drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. and saxophonist Eric Marienthal, deploys a similar strategy on the all-instrumental Galaxy, his 22nd album as a leader since making his debut in 1977. As with Now Is the Time, he takes the opportunity to revisit old gems, including the rising-and-falling “Wizard Island”; the pulsating “The Samba,” featuring a fluid guitar solo by Larry Koonse; “City” (co-written by Haslip), with its sticky rhythms and catchy melody; and “The Underground,” bolstered with a sprawling solo by trumpeter Randy Brecker.

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