@ the PizzaExpress Jazz Club
1 October 2010
Click an image to enlarge.
Chuck Loeb grew up in Nyack, NY, a suburb of New York City and
the perfect environment for a young person with an interest in music.
The area was home to many artists who worked in the city, as well
as a center for many arts, music and performance education programs.
It was there, at the young age of 11, that Loeb decided to make
music his life’s work. Self taught for several years, he began
working with local bands in the area when he was 13, playing dances
at the local youth center and eventually throughout the metropolitan
This early teenage period marked Loeb’s first exposure to
jazz, and he decided that in order to reach the level of technical
skill he’d been striving for, he would need to study music
formally. Along with local teachers Richie Hart and Hy White, he
traveled as far as Philadelphia to study with jazz guru Dennis Sandole,
who eventually recommended that he study with the great jazz guitarist
Jim Hall in New York City.After studying with Hall for the last
two years of high school, he enrolled at the Berklee College of
Music in Boston. Two years of intense study at Berklee greatly strengthened
his musicianship – not only as a guitarist but as a composer
and arranger as well – but the lure of professional work led
to his departure from Berklee in 1976. That same year, he left the
suburbs and moved to New York City.
Throughout his early years in the Big Apple, Loeb began making
a name for himself as a sideman with jazz luminaries such as drummer
Chico Hamilton, Latin percussionist and bandleader Ray Barreto,
flutist Hubert Laws and various others. He also continued his musical
studies with a vengeance, often practicing up to eight hours a day.
In 1979, jazz luminary Stan Getz invited Loeb to join his band.
The gig proved to be a pivotal experience for him, both musically
and personally. As a member of Getz’s group, and the composer
of much of the band’s repertoire, he had the chance to tour
the globe and perform at many of the world’s major festivals,
jazz clubs and concert halls. Eventually, Loeb became the musical
director of the group with his compositions comprising a large portion
of the nightly repertoire. It was also during this time that he
met and married Carmen Cuesta, a vocalist and songwriter from Madrid,
Spain. In the years since, Loeb has produced a number of Carmen’s
solo recordings, and the two have collaborated on various musical
After leaving the Getz ensemble, Loeb resettled in New York and
began to pursue a career as a studio musician. He logged thousands
of studio hours recording, composing and producing albums, soundtracks,
television show themes and jingles. It was here that he developed
his talents as a producer, which would become a major focus of his
career in later years.
In 1985, Loeb joined the group Steps Ahead with Michael Brecker,
Michael Mainieri, Peter Erskine and Victor Bailey. Returning to
the festivals and stages of the jazz world rekindled his desire
to focus on his own music. In 1988, after nearly ten years of intense
studio work, he made the decision to develop his own recording career.
His first offering as a solo artist was My Shining Hour, released
on Jazz City, a Japanese label. A year later, he released Magic
Fingers on DMP, an audiophile label that was one of the first in
the world to release recordings on compact disc.
After four more releases on DMP, Loeb left to sign with the jazz
and world music label Shanachie, where he released The Music Inside
in 1996 (the album’s title song held the number 1 position
on the contemporary jazz charts for six weeks). Concurrent with
his solo career, Loeb also recorded with Metro, a four-piece contemporary
jazz combo that included keyboardist Mitch Forman, drummer Wolfgang
Haffner and a succession of bassists: Anthony Jackson, Victor Bailey
and Mel Brown. Metro cut four albums on the Lipstick and Hip Bop
labels between 1994 and 2002. In addition, Loeb played with the
Fantasy Band with bassist John Lee, drummer Lionel Cordew and several
session players. The Fantasy Band recorded three albums on DMP and
Shanachie between 1993 and 1997.
After nine years and seven solo albums, Loeb left Shanachie and
joined Heads Up in late 2006. Presence, his Heads Up debut, is scheduled
for worldwide release on January 24, 2007. The new album celebrates
the importance of the human element in the creative process. “Nowadays,
there’s a lot of music that gets created in a laboratory,”
says Loeb. “We all have computers, and we do things long distance.
But it never ceases to amaze me how, as soon as you put the live
musicians into the equation, it’s their presence that brings
the thing to life. That’s the idea behind the album title
– the effect that an individual’s personality has on
the music, both in the context of a recording and in a live setting.”
In August 2010, it was confirmed that Chuck Loeb would be joining
the much celebrated group ‘Fourplay’. His debut with
the group will take place on April 18, 2011 at The Seabreeze Jazz
Festival in Destin Florida. After that they will head in to the
studio to start work on the new CD.
Desert Island Discs
Which 2 albums would you take with you to a desert island?
Carmen Cuesta-Loeb – Mi Bossa Nova
James Taylor – Hour Glass