Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber Fusion: Eleven (Concord/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Mike Stern and Jeff Lorber Fusion: Eleven (Concord/Southbound)

Guitarist Mike Stern is the man Miles Davis fans loved to hate.

Probably even today.

That was because he brought the hard rock textures – which Davis wanted – to Miles' band at the dawn of the Eighties, captured on the double live album We Want Miles.

He was in Blood Sweat and Tears before joining Davis and six years ago came to New Zealand to play with the Rodger Fox Big Band, at which time we interviewed him.

The name of keyboard player Jeff Lorber might be a red flag to those who don't want to relive slick and professional Californian fusion again.

But here it is with a classy band of bassist Jimmy Haslip (Yellowjackets), drummers Vinnie Colaiuta, Gary Novak and Dave Weckl, horn arranger/performer Dave Mann and others.

Despite the interesting exoticism of Leni Stern playing n'goni on Nu Som, this really only comes alive with the third track, Stern's soul-funk Jones Street (which he first recorded two decades ago), and Lorber's swanky and funk-swing Motor City which follows where he really lets loose on keyboards within the tight four minutes as well as holding down a powerful bass part.

Stern's Tel Me – another one from his distant back-catalogue – is a lovely smooth ballad but the rounded sheen it is given perhaps takes you back to Eighties films set in Miami rather than pulling it into the 21stcentury.

Guitar Player readers should head straight to the fiery Ha Ha Hotel and Rhumba Pagan topwards the end which are busy slice of proper jazz-rock fusion which deserve a place on an album named after the Spinal Tap joke.

How much you enjoy this will be down to if you like joining the dots of fusion, Stern and LA, and an admiration for technique.


You can hear it on Spotify here.


Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Jazz articles index

SABU TOYOZUMI PROFILED (2017): Zen and the art of freedom

SABU TOYOZUMI PROFILED (2017): Zen and the art of freedom

Any number of guitarists would say they were inspired by Jimi Hendrix, but rather fewer drummers. Least of all a Japanese guy in a pop band with the archetypal name of the Samurais. But... > Read more

CHRIS BOWDEN (2002): His slightly askew career

CHRIS BOWDEN (2002): His slightly askew career

Sometimes reviewers find words lifted from their articles as a banner for promotion. Film companies seem the main offenders in this: l’ve sometimes written unfavourable reviews of a... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

GUEST WRITER MADELINE BOCARO hears classic Bowie celebrated just days before his death

GUEST WRITER MADELINE BOCARO hears classic Bowie celebrated just days before his death

In a recent interview, Tony Visconti told of David Bowie’s Spiders from Mars drummer Woody Woodmansey's relentless enthusiasm and desire to bring Bowie’s The Man Who Sold the... > Read more

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

WE NEED TO TALK ABOUT . . . HANK GARLAND: The forgotten star of the six string

When guitarist Hank Garland's '59 Chev station wagon spun out on a road in Tennessee and hammered into a tree in September 1961 it left him unconscious in hospital for weeks. And although he... > Read more