Keyboardist Jeff Lorber, along with this power trio, Jeff Lorber Fusion—bassist Jimmy Haslip and saxophonist Eric Marienthal—have released Hacienda, the group’s new disc on the Heads Up label. Co-produced by Lorber and Haslip, the album features 11 fresh tracks, including the album’s lone cover, a version of Frank Zappa’s “King Kong,” with Jean-Luc Ponty guesting on violin. Other guests include Larry Koonse, Paul Jackson, Jr., Vinnie Colaiuta, Dave Weckl, Lenny Castro and David Mann.
The album title—the Spanish word for house—is partly inspired by the club in Manchester, England, with the same name that fostered an exciting dance music scene that eventually came to be known as house music. Lorber, a fusion founder who explored the style earlier in his career, revisits it in various places on Hacienda.
Since the late 1970s, Jeff Lorber Fusion has been playing and recording a potent mix of jazz, funk, rock, R&B and world music. The group’s recent releases—2010’s Now Is the Time and 2012’s Galaxy—have been colored with vibrant shades of dance and house music. On the whole, Hacienda is the culmination of several years worth of exploration in the studio, along with many miles worth of self-discovery in live performances around the globe.
“Eric and Jimmy and I had done a lot of touring in 2011 and 2012,” says Lorber. “By the time we were back in the States in the fall of 2012, and we realized that Vinnie Colaiuta was available, the whole thing came together very spontaneously. Hacienda takes what we started on some of our previous records and puts it into a tighter focus. It also reflects the excitement of doing a lot of touring and discovering what really worked — funky rhythms, unusual chord changes — for international audiences that really understood where we were coming from.”
Pictured, from left: Eric Marienthal, Jeff Lorber, Jimmy Haslip