203. The Jeff Lorber Fusion / Wizard Island (1980)
If you don't listen to jazz, you've probably heard Lorber's music on the Weather Channel while checking your local forecast! The back catalog is a bit more interesting, but not by much. This record was a #1 seller for Arista, and it sounds every bit the part. Cast in the same mold as the heavy hitters like Hancock, Corea, Clarke, et al, it lacks the trailblazing and depth found in those acts (Corea guests on "Rooftops"). Selections are heavy on the funk and Arista Records' special sauce, a superb studio product. It's got a lot of production on it and in spite of the funky corners, some of the songs do take on a two-dimensional pop simplicity. But if you're a fan of good bass playing or vintage synths like Minimoog and the Sequential Circuits Prophet 5, Lorber's album might interest you. I'm not a big fan of soft jazz or heavily produced wallpaper, but I do spin it sometimes. Dennis Bradford and Danny Wilson get high marks for drums and bass, respectively. Bland as this example may be, funky fusion grooves were an entry point for countless musicians of the 70's and early 80's, and Wizard Island does well to show you the ropes.