Jeff Lorber – Kickin’ It
(Samson – 2001)
by Ray Redmond
Jeff Lorber has been kickin out smooth tunes since Day 1. Before there was such a thing as smooth jazz, Jeff was giving it to us, and he’s back with more. Kickin’ It starts off with the brassy, retro-funk flavored Snakebite featuring Gerald Albright and Jerry Hey. This is my favorite and putting it first on the CD was a good move.
Jeff’s arrangement of Ain’t Nobody featuring the sweet trumpet licks of Ron King probably make this version of the song more interesting than the original. Co-written by Dave Koz, Happy Endings features Koz on sax and Michael Landau putting in some great guitar work. This tune is the strongest on the album and will surely be the ‘Smooth Jazz’ champ on this CD.
Assisted by the lovely Siedah Garrett on vocals, Jeff pulls off a cover of the Henderson classic Keep That Same Old Feelin’, maintaining the original groovin’ feel while adding a lot of the patented Lorber styling. The title tune Kickin’ It mixes in a lot of Lorber piano with a little more Gerald Albright to strike a delicate balance between funky and smooth.
Before you are done, be sure to check in at The Bijou for a little bit of original funk courtesy of Lorber and Koz again. On the whole Kickin’ It is not quite smooth jazz, this is more like Modernized Retro-Lorber Jazz. But it IS smooth…..