Jazz Funk Soul – Blues Alley, Washington DC – 18 Aug 22

On Thursday, 18 Aug 22, I had the distinct pleasure of catching the opening show of Jazz Funk Soul at Blues Alley in Washington, DC. Earlier in the month, I caught Instagram updates from Jeff Lorber, and Paul Jackson, Jr, the keyboardist and guitarist for supergroup Jazz Funk Soul, saying they’d be at Blues Alley on that date through Sunday, 21 Aug. I immediately purchased two 8pm show tickets for myself and my wife and shortly after, my music production/business partner purchased two for he and his wife. We were set for a show that was undoubtedly going to be good.

Jazz Funk Soul is composed of:

Jeff Lorber – Keyboards, Paul Jackson, Jr – guitar, and Everette Harp – Sax. Joining them that night were DC’s own bass guitar phenom, David Dyson, and on drums, Lionel Cordew

Here’s a shot from Jeff’s IG feed showing the one and only soundcheck they did on the afternoon of August 18th.

We arrived about 20 mins before the show started and the club was pretty much full. We ordered dinner and shortly afterwards, the band entered the stage. Jeff, in his cordial way, talked about the history of the band, including the debut album members, Everette Harp, guitarist Chuck Loeb, and himself. They ha ve three previous releases, and their current one, “Forecast”, was recently released. More information about the first three projects can be found at Discogs.

The setlist for the show was:

Speed Of Light (from the self-titled debut release, “Jazz Funk Soul )

Monserrat (from the Jeff Lorber Fusion release, “Galaxy”) 

Life and Times (from the third release, “Life and Times”)

Hustle (from the current release, “Forecast”)

Serious Business (from the self-titled debut release, “Jazz Funk Soul” )

Going Thru Changes (from Everette Harp’s release “First Love”, written with G. Duke)

Forecast (title track from “Forecast”)

Tune 88 (from Jeff Lorber Fusion’s release “Water Sign”)

Every track on the setlist was performed flawlessly. The sound system in Blues Alley, for the size of the club, is really nice so from every seat in the house, you get premium sound.

Lionel Cordew and David Dyson were really good in holding down the bass and drums for the group, providing that phenomenal groove foundation for the entire setlist. The highlight of seeing the band was finally seeing the incomparable Paul Jackson, Jr on guitar. His immense session work as a guitarist across multiple genres, and as a solo artist, has caused him to be a major influence on me as a guitarist. Here’s a point in the show where he cuts loose.

Everette Harp, groovin’ the melody to Jeff Lorber Fusion’s classic track, “Tune 88”

A few photos from the set

This was a fantastic opening show of eight total. If you ever get a chance to see Jazz Funk Soul, seize the opportunity!

Jazz Funk Soul’s latest release, “Forecast” can be found at Amazon and similar outlets, as well as on all major streaming platforms.

Thanks for the read,


Mike Stern w/Jeff Lorber Fusion – In Concert – Blues Alley, DC

On Sunday, 29 September, I had the good fortune of seeing The Jeff Lorber Fusion, with Mike Stern on guitar. They are on tour promoting the new release “Eleven”, which officially dropped on 27 September, if memory serves me correctly.

The band consisted of the following:

  • Jeff Lorber – keyboards
  • Dennis Chambers – Drums
  • Jimmy Haslip . Bass
  • Mike Stern – Guitar

I just happened to check the comments on Jeff’s Instagram feed Friday afternoon and said to myself “Let’s see what their tour stops are”. Ironically enough, they had already played the first of four nights here in DC at Blues Alley, so immediately I was excited. I called my wife to see if she wanted to go but she opted out as the Saturday night 8pm set was sold out. Checked with my buddy to see if he wanted to swing, but he was booked, so I flew solo to the 8pm set on Sunday.

Traffic was a bit backed up (of course, after realizing I took the long way), but I got there 45 minutes earlier AND was able to park on the street during a busy, bustling, warm Sunday night in Georgetown, so that was a nice surprise (and convenient such as it wasn’t a far walk to the club and I didn’t have to pay for garage parking).

When I got in, the place, nicely intimate, was already crowded. Fortunately I got a good seat (I’m not even sure there’s a bad seat in the house, actually). After ordering dinner, and leisurely enjoying it, Jeff walks out and past my table to the piano and synth. He sets up his iPad on the piano and flips through some of the pages, making small talk with some folks at a table basically right in front of him. Next out to the stage is Mike Stern…warming up on his guitar, also making small talk with those at adjacent tables. Third out is Jimmy Haslip, center stage, tuning up his bass. Last out, finally, is Dennis Chambers, who I really couldn’t see because of the location of his drum set on stage.

After management announces no use of portable devices, recording is prohibited, please keep your voices to a whisper, etc, etc, the show begins, with Jeff introducing the band. I’ll list the selections I remember, as I can. Post intro, the first selection is my current favorite and the first track from the new CD, “Righteous”. Being that this is Blues Alley, the acoustics are fantastic, so of course, this skilled set of musicians sounded great. All the dynamics and nuances were clear for this intimate setting. I feel it was the perfect track to start with, based on how the tune flows.

Next selection was entitled “Jones Street”. I initially thought this was a newly written track for the release, but it turns out it’s remake of Mike’s original song on his 1977 album, “Give and Take” (I’ll have to give this a listen as well). During this selection, Jimmy launches into this NICE bass solo, probably for about 24 to 32 bars. It’s a deep, growling, funky tune which really sounded great. Later in the song, Dennis Chambers, oh my goodness, also took a solo for about 32 bars. I;ve heard Dennis before and found out about this DC legend when I moved here 30 years ago. The solo was HOTTTT! By the time they finished the tune, the round of applause was long.

Later in the set, they peformed the last track on the CD, “Runner”. I like this track a lot as well, and could tell before even hearing it on the CD, that it was a nice, grooving tune. Dennis and Mike traded off on a very nice break where at one point, Dennis must have gone through playing jazz, funk, straight-ahead, and calypso genres before he was done – the band was masterful at keeping count before they all came back in for the outro.

If I remember correctly, they did about seven or eight tunes and ended with a crankin’ blues tune that may have been another one from Mike’s album. Whichever it was, it was a nice rendition. The set lasted for a little over and hour.

After the set was done, more small talk by Jeff with the table in front of him. After he was done, he passed by my table and we chatted for a minute, which always is a pleasure I’ve gotten when I get a chance to catch him in town. This has been the fourth time since 2001.

I was hoping to catch Jimmy and Dennis for autographs but they, with Jeff, slipped backstage, leaving Mike at the head of a long line at the exit, to sign CDs. I finally got up there, with still a long line behind me, to chat a moment and have him sign mine. He’s a personable, warm, engaging guy and it was nice to get a moment to take with this Grammy award winning, highly respected guitarist in the recording industry for decades.

Seeing such a superb set of musicians at a great spot made me appreciate, even more, being a. guitarist and band member in multiple groups for decades as well. Check lorber.com for all info on the new release.

Thanks for the read, stay well.

::: oceans of rhythm :::


Incognito Interview: Bluey Maunick/Surreal – 19 April 2012

Greeting ‘Cog fans. I’ve had the extreme pleasure of talking with Bluey about the current release Surreal, the tour so far, and especially about the band Incognito. It was truly a blast to interview the leader of my favorite band since they hit the scene. I caught up with Bluey at his home late one Thursday night and he was gracious enough to grant the interview at the time. I’d like to extend my sincere thanks for talking with me, brotha, as well as extending thanks to Donna Mercer of Elements Of Jazz for recommending that I do the interview, his beautiful wife Takami for setting it up, and Incognito’s publicist, Rob, for providing me with pre-interview material.

  • Incognito Official Website
  • Incognito Official Facebook Page
  • Incognito Official Twitter Page
  • Incognito Official YouTube Page
  • ::: oceans of rhythm :::


    Incognito f/Maysa (with The Robert Glasper Experiment) – 3 April 2012, at The Warner Theater, Washington DC

    Greetings all. I hope this post finds you well. I haven’t posted about a concert since my last one, Jeff Lorber Fusion at The Rams Head Tavern in Annapolis in March 2011. It’s been a minute since I’ve seen Incognito live. As a matter of fact, it was 10 years ago (I think) during the No Time Like The Future Tour at this same venue.

    I purchased my ticket in Dec 2011 and good seats were already going fast so I’m very glad I got seats five rows back from the stage. The crowd, always mature, is filling the theater and the time is 8:02pm. The Robert Glasper Experiment is the opening act, whose current CD. “Black Radio” is blowin’ up the jazz and R&B charts. The Robert Glasper Experiment, for this event, is Robert Glasper, keys; Mark McCollough, drums; Derek Hosge, bass; and Casey Benjamin. vocoder and sax. There’s an excellent cover story article on The Robert Glasper Trio in the April 2012 edition of Downbeat Magazine. Being a musician I’m surveying the stage equiopment…baby grand, Motif 8, and the guitarist’s dream amp, the legendary Roland JC-120, some of which may be for Incognito’s use. Robert played both the grand piano and Motif 8, utilizing its stellar Fender Rhodes patch.

    They did an excellent set from their latest CD. Every member of the group is EXTREMELY talented. Mark McCoilough substituted for Chris Dave, the drummer on the CD (some of you may remember him from Mint Condition). Derrick played a chorded and quite elegant, but soulful bass solo of the Stevie Wonder tune “Overjoyed” (I believe). Robert’s engaging of the crowd went over very well, as evidenced from the feedback from the ladies. They closed the set with their sonically awesome version of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” I am now an official Robert Glasper Experiment fan.

    I regret not going up during the intermission to get that RGE CD purchased and signed, but I stayed put and watched the stage crew get it ready for Incognito. I was five rows back front and center, as a result of purchasing these tickets four months in advance. The interesting thing is I just happened to go on Incognito’s website one night and saw announcements about the tour. They’ve been to the Capitol Jazz Fest since I last saw them in 2002, but as popular as the CJF is, I’m not really a fan of seeing music on the lawn or picnic area because I prefer the comfort of a theater type setting (you know I view the performance from more than an entertainment aspect :-)) Deborah Bond, DC area vocalist (and a very good one at that) was the emcee for the event. She really engaged well with the audience and I would encourage you to check out not just her latest CD but the ones prior.

    The stage crew continued getting things ready for the main act. I spied Matt Cooper’s keyboard rig, two red Nord Stages and a Roland JP 8000. I noted Bluey’s guitar rig included what looked like a white Strat (just iile mine…ha) and I knew he’d would be playing his Atelier Z (a version of Fender’s famous Telecaster) which he says is… ““Simply the best guitar I have ever played!” . I can’t speak to the drum and percussion gear, nor the horns that the excellent brass section used, but it was very nice to see that Francis Hylton held down the bass duties, using that classic blue Fender Jazz 5 string bass he’s often seen with.

    ‘Cog played The Ram’s Head Tavern, in Annapolis MD, the night before. The Ram’s Head is an intimate jazz club that serves dinner and is obviously a much smaller venue. The audience, for all intents and purposes, is up close to the artist, but the sound system is excellent from ever seat in the house. Seeing many concerts at The Warner in the past assured me that the sound would be on point for tonight’s concert. As the stage crew appeared to be thinning and people started to return to their seats, Deborah Bond assumed her emcee duties and the excitement began to mount.

    Incognito came to the stage and the electricity surely got kicked up a few notches. They wasted no time in getting musically busy! Interestingly enough after the second tune, they DID experience minor sound issues with the Mo Brandis’ vocal monitor and Matt’s keys…to the point where Bluey litterally made an announcement to that effect. Fortunately, from my vantage point anyway, those issues really weren’t noticeable That being said, here is the set list:

    1. Roots f/Vanessa Haynes
    2. As (Steve Wonder) f/Mo Brandis
    3. Can’t Get You Out Of My Head f/Natalie Sullivan
    4. Step into my life f/Maysa
    5. Change f/Maysa
    6. Colibri f/Maysa
    7. Goodbye to Yesterday f/Mo Brandis
    8. Above The Night f/Natalie Sullivan
    9. Ain’t It Time f/Vanessa Haynes
    10. The Leds You Know f/Maysa
    11. Still a Friend of Mine f/Maysa and Mo
    12. Blueys Story
    13. Expresso Maduwria f/the band
    14. Percussion explosion f/Francisco and Joao
    15. Everyday f/Vanessa
    16. Deep Waters f/Maysa (with Whitney Houston’s “I Will Always Love You” interlude)

    Every track above was on fire, even in the smoothest sense. Two of the highlights of the concert was a percussion and drum breakdown which brought the crowd to it’s feet. The other was one of Bluey’s famous stories on how he got into music at the early age of five, knowing then he wanted to form a band and tour the world…a dream he is constantly living.

    Cog closed the concert with one of their flagship songs, Deep Waters featuring the diva Maysa. She paid tribute to Whitney Houston by inserting a very nice rendition of “I Will Always Love You”, intricately woven into Deep Waters….excellent.

    After introducing the band, with members ranging from Ireland to Trinidad to Swaziland to Jamaica to England to Brazil, I’ve dubbed Incognito as “The International Groove Alliance”. Bluey always articulates and leaves the audience with messages of pure positivity, global positivity that is much needed in this day and age. This concert was well worth the wait.

    Incognito Official Website
    The Robert Glasper Experiment Official Website

    Oceans of rhythm….


    Jeff Lorber Fusion: Rams Head On Stage – 30 Mar 11

    Greetings all…

    I had the pleasure, along with my recording, biz partner, and friend, Dan, in seeing Jeff Lorber Fusion at Rams Head On Stage, in Annapolis, MD tonite.

    The tour is to showcase tunes from his Grammy nominated release “Now Is The Time”, a CD that brings back the feel of the world renowned hits from the days of the original Jeff Lorber Fusion, and a great CD it is.

    It’s always a pleasure to see Jeff when he comes to town, whether he is the solo act on the bill or as part of another tour (saw him in ’09 as part of the Guitar and Saxes Tour). The show started promptly at 8pm to a full, and enthusiastic house. The band was a quartet comprised of the following musicians:

  • Jeff Lorber: electric keyboard, synths, grand piano
  • Ron Jenkins: electric bass
  • Mark Prince: drums
  • Eric Marienthal: sax
  • Though I would have loved to see the original studio musicians, Will Kennedy and Jimmy Haslip (drums and bass, respectively), of The Yellowjackets, this band tonite was tight!

    The opening tune was Water Sign from the 1979 release, Water Sign. Effortlessly executed, it was a great number to open up with. Jeff’s Yamaha S90 ES keyboard sounded great throughout the entire concert.

    Following Water Sign, was Chinese Medicinal Herbs, also from the Soft Space release. Of course, the concert versions are always on point. Very nice flow on this live rendition, capturing the feeling of the original recording and the re-release on Now Is The Time.

    The third track in the set was Dr. Moy, from the current release. Again, nicely done. Mark Prince, a DC native, was smokin’ on drums. They all did a show last night at DC’s Blues Alley, and Jeff mentioned that it was only Mark’s second time working out with them (surely Jeff was being facetious…hah!).

    I played in a band once that did a few Jeff Lorber cover tunes, cause we are all big fans. The next song in the set is one, after hearing it, made us “just say no” hahah! Surreptitious, from the release He Had A Hat, was flat out “hot” (understandably so, since Jeff introduced it as being a favorite of his). This one had people moving, despite its fast tempo.

    The famous Toad’s Place was the next track. Always a crowd pleaser, this was very nice. Eric Marienthal has done tons of session and tour work with Jeff, and was the sax player for Chick Corea’s Elektric Band for years. Now THAT’S a lot of fusion!

    The track that followed, Mysterious Traveler, is from the recent release and was definitely a nice add to the set list. Ron Jenkins sounded great on this tune.

    The next selection was The Underground, from one of my favorite JL CD’s, Worth Waiting For. I was glad to hear them do this one, and though it wasn’t one of my favorites from that CD, I’m was glad to see them rep a track from that release.

    Next up was another well known track from the early JLF days, Raindance, from the 1979 release, Water Sign. Here’s a pic of Jeff telling a well known story about the track.

    Those who are Jeff Lorber fans may have heard about the day he was driving down the street and heard his tune under a rap track – the artists Lil’ Kim, Lil’ Cease and The Notorious B.I.G. (better known as Junior M.A.F.I.A), from Lil’ Kim’s debut release The track is “Crush On You” (1997).

    Ironically, look what was playing as soon as I was on my way home:

    Of course, the original version was all class, and to top it off, it was actually a medley with JL’s cover of Rufus and Chaka Khan’s hit, Ain’t Nobody. The crowd was up once again, giving a standing ovation to the official end of the set.

    Of course, their had to be an encore. They came back to do The Samba and Tune 88 from the releases, Soft Space and Water Sign, respectively.

    I got a chance to chat with Jeff for a minute after the show. Always cordial to converse with the fans, we got a chance to talk about the recent show in CT, which I was trying to get to, but didn’t make it. Jeff and I share a mutual friend Donna Talbot, a personal friend of Jeff’s, a FB friend of mine, who is a HUGE smooth jazz fan. I mentioned that I was supposed to be up for that show, and he says, “Oh yeah, she told me u were coming…”. Cool guy.

    If you are a fan of very cool, contemporary jazz with fusion undertones, I highly suggest you catch Jeff Lorber in concert. You will NOT be disappointed.

    Jeff Lorber’s Official Site
    2007 Inside Musicast’s Interview of Jeff Lorber, feat. the release “He Had A Hat”

    ::: oceans of rhythm :::