Three of contemporary jazz’s most popular artists-keyboardist Jeff Lorber, guitarist Chuck Loeb and saxophonist Everette Harp-offer a fresh take on fusion on Jazz Funk Soul, an album that grew out of a successful tour. The title is certainly truth in advertising: The set delivers a hefty, and very tasty, helping of jazz, funk and soul tunes that spotlight the three artists’ distinctive sounds as well as their ability to blend their styles seamlessly.
All three leaders have lengthy résumés as in-demand collaborators, and that experience serves them well here. They composed or co-composed all of the tracks, and they demonstrate an easy camaraderie as they share melodies and trade off solos.
The trio romps through the percolating Lorber composition “Adrenaline,” apparently named for the tune’s high energy and rapid tempo, and they jam their way with spirit through the soul-jazzy Loeb-Lorber cut “Serious Business.” Loeb takes the lead on his gently swinging “Swingette,” and the trio waxes lyrical on the pensive ballad “Silent Partner,” composed by Loeb and Harp. The stately Harp composition “We Were There” finds the saxophonist joined by trumpeter Till Brönner and flutist Mark Hollingsworth, and the trio wraps up the album with the funky Loeb-Lorber tune “Raccoon.”
Jazz Funk Soul is a solid, amply enjoyable album, and Lorber, Loeb and Harp demonstrate real chemistry. All three maintain busy schedules, but perhaps they will find time in the future to revisit this winning collaboration.
[Editor’s note: Chuck Loeb died on July 31, 2017. Read JT’s obituary on Loeb.]