World-class Jazz: Lamb, Lorber in Bend

“If you want to be a world-class artist, you need a world-class recording.”

When Portland saxophonist Patrick Lamb got that advice last year from Los Angeles keyboardist and music producer Jeff Lorber, his response was simple: “Let’s do it!”

Patrick Lamb

On Friday night, June 17, Lamb and Lorber will world-premiere “It’s Alright Now,” a jazz CD that is the result of that collaboration, with two shows at Bend’s Oxford Hotel. Tickets for either show, at 6:30 p.m. and 9:15 p.m., are priced at $40.

The shows in Bend will precede a second release party the following night at Jimmy Mak’s in Lamb’s hometown of Portland.

“There’s a lot of music here that hasn’t been heard before,” Patrick told me recently. “Most of the 10 songs are originals, except for the title track, which comes from Eddie Harris, and one other.”

The album was written, tracked and recorded at Pacific Palisades Studios in Los Angeles over two weeks in January. In addition to the principal musicians, such veteran studio artists as guitarist Paul Jackson, Jr. (formerly with Michael Jackson) and drummer Dave Weckl (Steely Dan) perform on the album. Lorber himself has performed with the likes of Tower of Power. And Lamb often tours with such renowned jazz artists as Gino Vannelli and Bobby Caldwell.

Lamb occasionally performs as a backup singer with other artists, and frequently mixes vocals and saxophone in his concerts. “But this is just sax,” he said. “I sing on just one number. I went with a sax record because I thought I could do a really precise job.”

Jazz fans should expect to hear plenty of “funky music,” as Lamb terms it.

“It took me about 10 years to be known for anything but smooth jazz,” he said. “But I am best with funky music. I’ve gotten to a point where I sell out pretty much everything in Portland … so now I’m trying to get into other markets.

Lamb rocks the Oxford (Barb Gonzalez photos)

To that end, he is seeking national management representation. And he is about to do a vocal record with veteran jazz songstress Diane Schuur.

Although he was born in Mississippi, Lamb has lived since his youth in Portland, where his father is a longtime high-school science teacher. He and his wife, Amy, live in north Portland.

Before music yielded a full-time living, Patrick said, he did a variety of jobs: “I parked cars, delivered pizzas, sold used cars, installed ceiling tiles. I think it’s important to know the value of work. Every person should know what it’s like to hold a job.”

That’s especially true, perhaps, if they aspire to be a world-class artist.

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