Grammy Nominated Guitar Wizard, Composer & Producer Chuck Loeb Rekindles A New Love of Music With Unspoken Drawing Inspiration From Its Healing & Rejuvenating Powers
CD Out 9/30 Features Everette Harp, Nathan East, Eric Marienthal, Brian Culbertson, Jeff Lorber & Others
"I think I have a problem," admits Chuck Loeb laughing. "I am addicted to music! I admit it. I get inspired when I hear music like Earth, Wind & Fire, Weather Report, Stevie Wonder and Wes Montgomery." Dubbed by The New York Times
as 'The Clark Kent of Jazz Guitar,' Chuck Loeb has had a legendary four-decade career that has garnered him heroic status among fans and musicians alike. Loeb's mesmerizing virtuosity, flawless technique, mystical lyricism and dazzling grooves have made him first call as a guitarist, producer, composer and arranger. One quarter of the iconic Contemporary Jazz ensemble, Fourplay
, and one third of the trio Jazz, Funk Soul,
which scored a 2015 Grammy nomination, Loeb has worked with a who's who list in music that includes Bob Dylan, Carly Simon, Gloria Gayner, Bill Evans and Stan Getz (who happened to have been the best man at Loeb's wedding!) A wizard in the studio, Loeb has produced everyone from pianists Bob James and Keiko Matsui to singer Jon Lucien, saxophonists Kim Waters and Nelson Rangell and fellow guitarist Larry Coryell. He's even penned theme songs for CNN, The New York Yankees and ESPN, as well as performed on soundtracks for such popular films as The Untouchables(Robert De Niro and Kevin Costner), Turner and Hooch
(Tom Hanks) and Hitch
(Will Smith and Eva Mendes).
September 30, 2016, Chuck Loeb will release Unspoken, his 18th album as a leader. The project remains close to his heart as it was recorded after a recent illness and recovery in which Chuck developed a new found appreciation for his first love - music. "After undergoing surgery," confides Loeb, "I had to get out and walk and sometimes it was difficult. During this period I listened a lot to music. Being a musician for so many years, I have been so involved with the mechanics and analyzation of how the music is produced, that sometimes its hard to just simply enjoy it. But now for the first time in a long time, I was able to just enjoy it purely as a listener. Music lifted me up and drove me forward during my recovery process. It meant so much to me, and rekindled my earliest love and appreciation for it."
As much as Chuck Loeb is revered as an artist, he is equally admired for his sincere, gentle and down to earth spirit. Unspokenis a testamentto the good will and adoration Loeb has amassed from his peers through the years. The star-studded cast unites Loeb with such notable guests as saxophonists Everette Harp, Eric Marienthal, Dave Mann and Andy Snitzer, bassist Nathan East, drummer Brian Dunne and pianists Jeff Lorber and Brian Culbertson, among others.
The exhilarating "Cotton Club" opens Unspoken. The album's first and chart-climbing single is reminiscent of Joe Zawinul's classic "Birdland." Loeb wrote the song in tribute to the staff of the Tokyo Cotton Club - his favorite club to play. He fronts an ironclad septet featuring pianist Jeff Lorber, who co-wrote the song and who is part of Jazz, Funk, Soul along with Loeb and saxman Everette Harp. "When Jeff and I get together we are prolific. There is no one quite like Jeff. He is an amazing guy and talent, and Everette brings so much emotion to each performance along with his obvious musical skills. "The buoyant and serene "Natural Light" features Loeb's free flowing and agile guitar lines alongside Andy Snitzer's (who can be heard these days with Paul Simon) soaring and fluid soprano. Chuck, who plays all of the other instruments on the track, credits label-mate Keiko Matsui's 'ethereal approach' for the song's inspiration.
Loeb wrote the album's title track featuring pianist Brian Culbertson, with Earth, Wind & Fire's "After The Love" and Pat Metheny's "Something To Remind You" in mind. Loeb recalls laughing, "I told Pat that I have been trying to rewrite his song for the past 25 years!" The results of Loeb's labor are sublime, resulting in one of the most tender and spectacular moments on the CD. Loeb shares, "I recorded on Brian's 'Fullerton Avenue' and it was a smash hit. I've played a few songs with him and I said to him 'Listen Bro, you owe me!' This was the right track to hear his soulful piano. He did a perfect job as he always does." As the title "Happy Hour" suggests Loeb and company came to let loose and have a little fun. There is a great horn section featured on the track that was arranged by Dave Mann who arranged the horns on the entire CD. "Dave is a huge talent," says Loeb of Mann. He is often in the background. I always want people to know just how great he is!" "Affinity" featuring Everett Harp is a bluesy, funky and soulful number that was inspired by the 1980s tune, "Maputo," written by Marcus Miller and recorded by the bassist along with Bob James and David Sanborn. Loeb reflects, "Everette came in and he brought a little of his love of Sanborn to the track and made it his own."
Unspoken also showcases the song "Treetops," featuring saxophonist Eric Marienthal, who Loeb most recently recorded with on their 2015 collaboration Bridges. "Eric is one of my best friends," shares Chuck. "He is also one of the best musicians on planet." The tune pays homage to Weather Report's Joe Zawinul, Wayne Shorter and Jaco Pastorius who have long remained influences. The Latin-tinged and winning Si Se Puede" featuring German trumpeter Till Bronner, is an ode for President Obama and the people of Cuba. Loeb's daughter Lizzy (a talented singer in her own right) wrote the samba "Way Up High," featuring her mother and Loeb's wife Carmen on vocals. Loeb confides that both his wife and daughters are always a part of his creative process. "I am always hard on myself," confesses Chuck. That is where my family comes in. They help me to have an outside objective perspective."
Shifting gears, the song "Cut and Run" is a swinging trio and beatnik number joining Loeb with Mann and drummer Brian Dunne (who is a member of Hall & Oates' band). "Dave's plays amazing flute," says Loeb. I told him I want you to wear a beret when you play this. It is a look back at my love of the birth of the cool from the 50s." Unspoken transports us to Spain on the Mediterranean with the tunes "Voramar and" "Via Verde." Both tunes pay tribute to places close to Loeb and his family's heart as they make their home there a few months a year. "Voramar" features saxophonist Eric Marienthal, pianist Pat Bianchi and drummer Brian Dunne (featured on the show Darryl's House). "Via Verde" which is co-written and features his daughter Christina on ukulele and vocals, showcases Chuck's exquisite taste and ability to summon such grace, beauty and healing energy with this playing. It is the perfect ending to a beautiful journey. Or perhaps it is a new beginning?
The release of Unspoken coincides with the first Chuck Loeb Signature model guitar by Sadowsky Guitars. The special edition will showcase a newly designed shape and will boast an extensive array of electronics. "Roger Sadowsky worked very hard and gave a lot of thought to the sound of my playing, and came up with what I call the Mercedes Benz luxury model of the guitar. I am very excited."
Born and raised in Nyack, New York, Chuck Loeb began playing the guitar as a child. As a teen the dedicated young musician would ride the train to Philadelphia to study with Dennis Sandole, whose other pupils included John Coltrane, James Moody and Pat Martino, to name a few. While a student at the famed Berklee College of Music in Boston, Loeb studied with Pat Metheny. He is now a professor and, has his own "School of Jazz Guitar on the ArtistWorks.com
Upon graduation he joined Gloria Gaynor's band and further honed his skills performing alongside such heavyweights as Chico Hamilton, Freddie Hubbard, Ray Barretto Joe Farrell and Hubert Laws, among others. In 1979 Loeb became a member of Stan Getz's ensemble and the same year, he met singer/songwriter Carmen Cuesta and the two were married soon after.
In 1985, he joined the group Steps Ahead with Michael Brecker, Michael Mainieri, Peter Erskine and Victor Bailey. In 1988, after nearly ten years of intense studio work, he made the decision to develop his own recording career releasing. My Shining Hour, which was followed by Magic Fingers on DMP along with four other projects for the audiophile label.
Chuck Loeb joined the Shanachie Entertainment family releasing his label debut The Music Inside in 1996. Loeb's subsequent recordings for the label include The Moon The Stars & The Setting Sun (1998) Listen (1999) In A Heartbeat (2001) All There Is (2002) eBop (2003) When I'm With You (2005), Silhouette (2013), Jazz, Funk Soul (with Jeff Lobber and Everette Harp) (2014) and Bridges (with Eric Marienthal - 2015).
With the release of Unspoken, Loeb unleashes the enduring beauty and power of music. The guitarist concludes, "I am really proud of this music and have a strong emotional attachment to it. I hope the CD reflects the deep love I have for music and the artists who helped me to create it. I hope that it can bring joy and healing to others."