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Jeff Lorber

With a smooth sound bringing together elements of funk, R&B, rock and electric jazz, keyboardist Jeff Lorber helped pioneer a genre of fusion later formatted under such names as NAC and Contemporary Jazz. Born in Philadelphia on November 4, 1952, he began playing the piano at the age of four, and as a teen performed with a variety of local R&B bands. Lorber's infatuation with jazz began during his stay at the Berklee College of Music, and after forming the Jeff Lorber Fusion he issued the group's self-titled debut in 1979. During the first half of the following decade, the band became one of the most popular jazz acts of the period, touring non-stop and even scoring a Best R&B Instrumental Grammy nomination for their radio hit "Pacific Coast Highway." 1984's Step by Step was their most successful outing yet, but at the Fusion's peak, Lorber disbanded the group, instead turning to production and session work. He did not issue his first proper solo LP until 1991's Worth Waiting For, remaining both a prolific performer and producer for the rest of the decade. Jason Ankeny

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