Guitar aficionado Mike Stern and Grammy award-winning keyboardist Jeff Lorber have released “Ha Ha Hotel,” the first taste of their joint album, Eleven.
The fast-paced, funky track showcases the recording artists’ virtuosity as they snap to pauses in unison and immediately explode back into life afterwards. Lorber plays organ on this song, a decision he said was intended to complement “the bluesy vibe” Stern gave the tune.
“[The song’s] got a little bit of insanity with the distortion and the way that melody moves. And it’s quite difficult to play, by the way,” the keyboardist remarked in a statement. “So before we went in to record, I worked quite a bit for a couple of weeks before that to get that thing going the best I could.”
The duo’s collaboration was seeded decades ago when Lorber saw Stern play with Miles Davis nearly 40 years ago. “I’ve been a fan of his for a long time,” the keyboardist said. Stern, on the other hand, hadn’t noticed Lorber at the time. “To be honest, I was aware of him, and had heard a bunch of good things, but I had never really checked him out. We were just in different orbits, me and Jeff,” the guitarist said.
Yellowjackets bassist Jimmy Haslip helped the two meet, forging the foundation for their ten-track joint album. Eleven is set for release via Concord Jazz on September 27.
Listen to “Ha Ha Hotel” here: