Jeff Lorber (born November 4, 1952 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) is an American Grammy Award-nominated keyboardist, composer, and record producer.
After leading his own group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, he went on to pioneer the smooth jazz genre.
Many of his songs were featured on The Weather Channel's Local On The 8s segments, including appearances on the channel's compilation albums, The Weather Channel Presents: The Best of Smooth Jazz and The Weather Channel Presents: Smooth Jazz II.
In February, it was announced Jeff Lorber signed with Peak Records. Lorber's first CD for his new label is expected to hit the street on Tuesday, June 10.
He was also nominated for a Grammy for his 2007 Blue Note Records release titled, "He Had A Hat."
Jeff Lorber was born to a Jewish family in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Lorber started to play the piano when he was four years old and after playing in a number of R&B bands as a teen, went on to attend Berklee College of Music, where he developed his love for jazz. He moved to Vancouver, Washington in 1972.
The Jeff Lorber Fusion (1977-1981)
His first group, The Jeff Lorber Fusion, released their self-titled debut album in 1977 on Inner City Records. Supported by a revolving cast of musicians including longtime drummer Dennis Bradford, Lorber recorded five studio albums under this moniker. These early releases showcased a funky sound influenced by other jazz fusion practitioners like Herbie Hancock, Weather Report and Return to Forever, the latter's Chick Corea appearing on several noteworthy Fusion cuts. Like his contemporaries, Lorber performed on multiple keyboard instruments including piano, Rhodes piano, and various analog synthesizers, often favoring the Minimoog and Sequential Circuits Prophet 5.
"Rain Dance," found on the 1979 album Water Sign, was sampled for the 1996 Lil' Kim single "Crush On You." It was also sampled for the track Love Like This (featuring Lil' Cease) on SWV's 1997 release Release Some Tension
The Jeff Lorber Fusion's 1980 LP Wizard Island introduced a young saxophonist named Kenny Gorelick, better known as Kenny G.
Solo career (1982-present)
In 1982, Lorber recorded his first solo album It's A Fact, which explored Lorber's R&B roots with a smoother, more synth-heavy sound. The album featured a new backing band as well as contributions from former Fusion bandmate Kenny G and legendary percussionist Paulinho Da Costa. It's A Fact also contained several songs with vocalists, a stark contrast to the instrumental recordings of the Fusion.
1984 was a prolific year for Lorber, who followed up his solo debut with In the Heat of the Night and Lift Off. Later that same year, Lorber teamed up with influential R&B production duo David Frank and Mic Murphy, otherwise known as The System 3, to produce his most successful effort to date, Step By Step4. The synth-driven title track rose to number 31 on the R&B charts5.
Jeff Lorber's keyboard work is featured in the PlayStation video game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. His keyboarding can be heard during the game's closing theme song "I Am the Wind" (which also features saxophonist Gerald Albright).
His subsequent albums continued to evolve in a smooth jazz direction. Two greatest hits compilations, The Definitive Collection and The Very Best of Jeff Lorber, were released in 2000 and 2002 respectively. To date, he has recorded a dozen solo albums, his most recent being 2005's Flipside which was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Pop Instrumental Album category.
Lorber has done extensive production and session work for other artists including Dave Koz, Eric Benet, Herb Alpert and Laura Branigan, as well as working on a track for the critically acclaimed 1997 PlayStation game Castlevania: Symphony of the Night. In addition to his recording and performing, Lorber also hosts his own show on Sirius Satellite Radio.
Jeff Lorber is married to Mingquan Tungwarapotwitan. When Lorber was diagnosed with polycystic kidney disease, he received a successful kidney transplant from his wife. Jeff has two daughters, Nica Lorber and Jessica Lorber.