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A Night of Fusion

Jeff Lorber and friends perform at the Hyatt Regency.

PHOTOS AND STORY BY RALPH PALUMBO

July 1, 2011

Jeff Lorber is a prominent musician in the world of jazz fusion. He is a graduate of Berklee College of Music and shortly after college formed Jeff Lorber Fusion in 1977.

Along with his innovative playing style, Lorber seems to have a knack for teaming up with outstanding musicians. His July 1 performance - along with Eric Marienthal on sax, Paul Jackson Jr. on guitar and the Yellowjackets rhythm section - at the INFINITI Summer Concert Series presented by ROLEX South Coast Plaza at Hyatt Regency Newport Beach was no exception.

Jeff Lorber holding smartphone piano app

At one point in the show, Lorber introduced Jackson as the most televised guitarist today. Jackson took over as "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" guitarist, replacing longtime music director Kevin Eubanks, and if you're an "American Idol" fan, Jackson is the guitar player you've been listening to. Jackson welcomed and thanked the crowd, and very sincerely expressed how honored he was to play in Jeff Lorber Fusion.

Paul Jackson Jr. holding guitar Eric Marienthal playing sax

"I was a fan of Jeff Lorber Fusion in college," he said before breaking into the next song.

The band took the stage and in usual jazz fashion, rotated in a circle of solos, each one ending in cheers. They finished the first set with a standing ovation.

Orange County local Eric Marienthal, part of the night's session, is one of the most well known sax players in contemporary jazz. Like Lorber he also studied at Berklee College of Music, leaving with the highest proficiency rating the school can give. One of the turning points of his career was meeting legend Chick Corea and eventually joining Chick's Elektric Band. That band went on to record several albums, toured the world and won two Grammys. Shortly after that, Marienthal started putting out his own successful albums, produced by Corea.

One of the high points of the evening was watching bassist Jimmy Haslip solo on his left handed six-string electric bass that he strings upside down.

Jimmy Haslip playing six string bass electric guitar