Keyboardist Jeff Lorber's latest release is a good mix of snappy modern numbers mixed with a few improv sets that has a good feel to it. Like so many 45's we bought years ago, you really didn't know what was on the other side until you tried it out. He incorporates the work of sax player Gary Meek and Eric Wall on guitar to help spice up the work.
"Oh La La" is the opening piece that concentrates on Lorber's piano. Its Latin-influenced beat as well as some good mixing makes this a good one to start the set with. It has some great jazz riffs as well as a little guitar by Lorber. Lenny Castro's percussion is a nice touch. "Everybody Knows That" picks the pace up a little for some nice keyboard work as well as some occasional sax from David Mann. Jeff's R& B grooves that we've come to know are showcased here. Guitarist Paul Jackson Jr. does some nice work as well. "By My Side" sounds retrospective. Given the artist's recent kidney transplant from his wife, the song could easily be one to think of their relationship and her contribution to the jazz world. There's some cello work in the background that is rarely heard from in many of Lorber's songs.
The title track is a good little funky number that will have you snapping soon after it begins. Here are some of Lorber's patented riffs that were very visible on his last two releases. Meek's tenor as well as Ron Kink's trumpet add a lot to the mix, and will make this a favorite as well as one you'll be hearing on a lot of smooth jazz stations this spring. The pace continues on to "Santa Monica Triangle" as Lorber stretches out on his Rhodes. I like the addition of Jackson again on guitar. They play well together and blend with Castro’s ever-moving percussion. "Sun Ra" is primarily a lot of improv throughout. King and Meek mix it up as Lorber adds a few guitar riffs that go well with his Rhodes. This probably began in a practice session, and was added to as it took shape. There's a Jamaican feel to this funky little tune.
"Angel In Paris" is pure Lorber on piano. King adds occasional trumpet, and Castro's percussion moves this one along fairly nicely. "Bombay Café" goes back to the funky rhythm, and features Lorber on piano. Most of the previously mentioned artists join here, and add to the improv that we have come to expect on this disc. "Tune 88" is a remake from his original disc back in 1980 (Water Sign). Lorber usually keeps it in his set list, and only has piano, bass and congas here for this classic. My favorite may be the last song on Flip Side. "Enchanted Way" incorporates a good beat that blends nicely with the keyboards and some spirited soprano sax work by Meek. Lorber even mentions that it “sounds like something from the seventies.”
Overall, I believe if you check this Flip Side out, you’ll more than likely love the versatility of this long-standing keyboardist. There’s a lot here for everyone, and some nice added spices from the other musicians.
- H.A. Cline