Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

December 9, 2023

Smooth jazz comes to the QCA

Grammy nominated jazz artist, Jeff Lorber, will perform at The River Music Experience’s 11th annual Smooth Jazz Festival.
Starting at 8 p.m., on Oct. 11, Lorber, a keyboardist, composer and producer, along with other artists, will take the Davenport Redstone Room stage. Lorber is known for performing “jazz fusion,” a combination of traditional jazz and elements of rock, R&B and other electrified sounds.
Lorber said he discovered his love of music as a child.
“I’ve always loved music,” Lorber said. “There was a lot of music going on in my house when I was growing up. My mother played piano and I had two older sisters that were taking piano lessons.”
He said one of his biggest influences is Thelonious Monk, a jazz musician from the 1950s and 60s.
“My cousin, Stu, gave me four jazz records which made a big impression on me,” Lorber said. “One of them was ‘Monk’s Dream.’ I used to go over to Stuart’s house, he played jazz drums, and he would let me play them. That seemed way more interesting than the folk music my other cousins were into. When I was old enough to play in a band, I knew that learning how to play jazz piano would help (me) to be a better soloist. After studying jazz piano, I really became a big jazz fan of that music.”
Lorber is part of a quartet. All four performers will be attending the Smooth Jazz Festival.
“The quartet consists of Ron Jenkins on bass, who I’ve been working with a long time,” Lorber said. “Lionel Cordew on drums, from NYC, who’s well known for working with Mike Stern. I’m fortunate to have Everette Harp on sax, who’s well known from his solo career.”
Lorber said he has also worked with the Jazz Funk and Soul project, and the quartet’s newest album has been number one on a few different jazz charts.
President and CEO of Great Sound Productions, Valerie Davis, began the Smooth Jazz Festival in 2004, with a dream of bringing musicians, such as Lorber, to the Quad Cities.
“I have always been very passionate about jazz,” Davis said.
Davis said the first Smooth Jazz Festival had about 125 people in attendance. This number has escalated as the festival has grown in popularity.
Before the Smooth Jazz Festival, Lorber will hold a workshop for students that are specifically interested in jazz music, in the Redstone Room at 1 p.m. on Oct.11.

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Smooth jazz comes to the QCA