Orbit was recorded and mixed live during the performance featuring Straight Ahead Record's "ALL LIVE" style with proprietary equipment. Straight Ahead Records strive for exceptional music, and unparalleled excellence in audio!
"Emerald Audiophile Series" discs are actually made with a dark green polycarbonate to help alleviate the potential problems associated with internal light refraction and enable a more accurate reading of the digital data from the optical "CD" disc.
The concept for Straight Ahead Records' sound is the result of many years of listening to recordings from the beginning of high fidelity sound, to the advent of stereo recordings, and to the present. Over these fifty years, many recordings stood out, capturing a realism and naturalness that moved you into their environment with the sense that you could touch the instruments. This elusive magic that some recordings have is not at all easy to create. The problem lies in the delicacy and complexity of an audio signal and how subtle losses or distortion in a recording affect the credibility of the environment that is presented to the listener. These factors of clean natural sound and a plausible environment are essential to capturing the essence of being there as it is happening. This is what Straight Ahead Records is all about. - Bernie Grundman
Neil Larsen is a composer/keyboard player from Florida that has been successful in several different fields. As a recording artist, he has recorded four solo albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy. After teaming up with guitartist Buzz Feiten, they recorded two albums with their band Full Moon, and one with the Larsen-Feiten Band, which included the top ten single, "Who'll Be the Fool Tonight". As a session musician, Neil Larsen has played on over 150 albums, including three with George Harrison, three with Kenny Loggins (and the single "Footloose"), Whitney Houston, Jimmy Cliff and 4 albums with Rickie Lee Jones, including the single, "Chuckie's in Love". His string and horn arragements are featured on albums by Gregg Allman and B.B. King among others.
As a composer, Neil has written over 60 songs on various albums, including albums by George Benson ("Weekend in L.A." & "20-20" ), Gregg Allman ("Playin' Up a Storm"), Rickie Lee Jones ("Girl at her Volcano"), Will Smith ("Willenium") and Miles Davis ("The Complete Montreaux Recordings") . He has toured extensively with many artists, including Gregg Allman, Michele Branch, Kenny Loggins, Rick Springfield, Joe Sample and Dr. John and was musical director and pianist for singer Al Jarreau for eleven years, that included tours of South America, Australia, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, and over 20 tours of europe.
After growing up in Sarasota, Florida, Neil moved to New York City in 1971 and began working as a session musician, playing on television jingles, working with his band 'Full Moon', and on albums by Don McLean, the Soul Survivors, Ray Baretto, Bonnie Bramlet and Dan Fogleberg, among others. In 1977, he moved to Los Angeles and began working with producers Stewart Levine, Lenny Waronker, Russ Titleman and Tommy Lipuma, playing on various albums and motion picture and television soundtracks. Tommy went on to sign Neil to a record contract at A & M Records and produce his first two solo albums, "Jungle Fever and"High Gear"- the title song of the second album was nominated for a Grammy as best instrumental rock performance of 1979. Soon after, Neil and Buzz Feiten formed the Larsen-Feiten Band and, again with Tommy Lipuma producing, recorded two albums for Warner Bros., including the single, "Who'll Be the Fool Tonight?". Neil toured extensively with Al Jarreau from 1986 through 1997, during which time he released 2 more solo albums for M.C.A., played several solo tours of Japan and worked and continues to work on many projects with "Orbit" producer Stewart Levine.
Since 2001, Neil has toured Europe, South America and Japan with guitarist Robben Ford; Europe, Japan and U.S.A. with Rickie Lee Jones; 3 USA tours with Gregg Allman; featured on new albums by B.B.King, "Let the Good Times Roll" both playing and as an arranger, Will Smith's "Willenium", Robben Ford's "Blue Moon" and Diana Krall's album "The Girl in the Other Room". He also currently works on the TV show "Boston Legal" as an arranger and pianist.
-Arthur Adams- "I Love, Love, Love my Lady", "Back on Track"
-Oleta Adams- "Evolution"
-Yasuko Agawa- "Come in Christmas"(Japan)
-Gregg Allman-"Playin' Up a Storm", "Two the Hard Way"
-Allman Brothers Band - "Dreams"
-Paul Anka- "Headlines", "Listen to your Heart"
-Marty Balin- "Balin"
-Ray Baretto- "Can You Feel It ?"
-Roscoe Beck- "Walk On"
-Eric Benet- "Hurricane"
-Beckmeier Brothers- "Beckmeier Brothers"
-George Benson- "Weekend in L.A.", "20-20","The Best of George Benson-The Instrumentals"
-Michel Berger- "Dreams in Stone"(France)
-Matraca Berg- "Speed of Grace"
-Steven Bishop- "Red Cab to Manhattan"
-Rachel Bissey- "Endless Night"(Japan)
-Bonnie Bramlet- "Lady's Choice"
-Zachary Breaux- "Uptown Groove"
-Roy Buchanan- "In the Beginning", "Rescue Me", "Sweet Dreams"
-Cher- "Two the Hard Way", "Allman & Woman"
-Jimmie Cliff- "Give Thanks"
-Christophe- "Pas Vu Pas Pris" (France)
-Comander Cody- "Flying Dreams"
-Don Cooper- "What You Feel is How You Grow"
-Don Covay- "Traveling in Heavy Traffic"
-Julie Covington- "Julie Covington" (England)
-Randy Crawford- "Secret Combination", "The Best of Randy Crawford", "Casino Lights"
-Dr. John- "City Lights", "Tango Palace"
-Nick DeCaro- "Love Storm"
-Easy Pieces- "Easy Pieces"
-Eclipse- "Makin Tracks"
-Dan Fogelberg- "Twin Sons of Different Mothers", "Portrait-The Music of Dan Fogleberg"
-Full Moon- "Full Moon"
-Robben Ford-"Blue Moon"
-Mike Grange- "Mike Grange"
-Mike Green- "Pale, Pale Moon"
-George Harrison- "George Harrison", "Somewhere in England" "Gone Troppo", "Best of Dark Horse"
-Lani Hall- "Double or Nothing" "Brazilier"
-Ritt Henn- "Goin' Back", "It's Me"
-Hide- "Hide Your Face"(Japan)
-Whitney Houston- "I'm Your Baby, Tonight"
-Janis Ian- "Restless Eyes"
-Wanda Jackson-"Female Trouble"
-Al Jarreau- "Casino Lights", "Tenderness"
-Rickie Lee Jones- "Rickie Lee Jones"," Pirates", "Magazine", "Girl at her Vocano", "The Evening of my Best Day"
-Karizma- "Dream Come True"
-Doug Kershaw- "Flip, Flop & Fly"
-Richie Kicklighter -"Just For Kicks", "Kings Highway", "Myakka", "Live at the Beach Club".
-Mami Kicuchi- "Mami Kikuchi" (Japan)
-B.B. King- "There is Always One More Time", "Let the Good Times Roll", "Till the Night is Gone", "King of the Blues", "Tribute to Curtis Mayfield"
-Diana Krall-"The Girl in the Next Room"
-Corky Lang- "Makin' It on the Street"
-Neil Larsen- "Jungle Fever", "High Gear", "Through Any Window", "Smooth Talk", "Casino Lights".
-Larsen-Feiten Band- "Larsen-Feiten Band", "Full Moon"
-Lightnin' Rod- "Hustlers Convention"
-Kenny Loggins- "High Adventure", "Footloose", "Vox Humana","Yesterday,Today and Tomorow"
-Diana Marcovitz- "Horse of a Different Feather"
-Don McLean- "Don McLean", "Playin' Favorites"
-Jim Messina- "Messina"
-Mighty Clouds of Joy- "Truth is the Power", "It's Time", "There's Love in the World"
-Katy Moffat- "Kissin' in the California Sun"
-Patsy Moore- "Regarding the Human Condition", "Flower Childs Guide to Love"
-Adam Mitchell- "Redhead in Trouble"
-Murray McLaughlin- "Murray McLaughlin"
-Randy Newman- "Trouble in Paradise"
-Amii Ozaki- "Arrows in my Eyes" (Japan)
-Michael Paulo- "Fusebox"
-Bill Quateman- "Just Like You"
-James Reyne- "The Whiff of Bedlam"
-Lionel Richie- "Dancin' on the Ceiling"
-Rolling Stones- "Emotional Rescue"
-Brenda Russell- "Love Life"
-David Sanborn- "Casino Lights"
-Tom Scott- "Street Beat"
-Billy Joe Shavers- "Billy Joe Shavers"
-Vonda Shepard- "Songs from Ally McBeal", "Heart and Soul", "A Very Ally Christmas", "For Once in my Life"
-Richard Simmons- "Reach"
-Will Smith- "Willenium"
-Soundtrack Albums- "Casey's Shadow", "Footloose", "Skateboard", "The Flamingo Kid"
-Dusty Springfield- "Livin' Without your Love", "Anthology"
-Curtis Stigers- "Time Was"
-Soul Survivors- "Soul Survivors"
-Yoshiuki Suzuki- "I'm in Love" (Japan)
-Livingston Taylor- "Over the Rainbow", "Carolina Day"
-Richard & Linda Thompson - "Clear Light"
-Yuji Toriyama- "Silver Shoes", "Platinum-dori" (Japan)
-Various Artists- "Casino Lights", "Best of Smooth Jazz", "Red Blooded Blues"
-David T. Walker- "Ahimsa"
-Tim Weisberg- "Rotations", "Tim Weisberg Band", "Twin Sons of Different Mothers","Smile", "Party of One"
-Lenny Williams- "Chosing You"
-Womack & Womack- "Love Wars", "Radio Music Man"
-Gary Wright- "Headin' Home"
Praise For Orbit
If you really want to get a handle on exactly how great Robben is as a guitarist, listen to the Orbit CD through a good set of headphones. If you listen to what he's doing in the background, Jungle Fever & Sudden Samba are good examples, you'll discover why he's the finest guitar player on the scene today. And, as much as Robben enjoys singing and playing the blues (he mentioned it several times at last year's October clinic), he really shines when part of a jazz/blues group without vocals. Just listen to the musicianship on this CD and how inspired Robben is in his playing.........not just wonderful solos, but incredible rhythm chops. IMHO..........that's where he really shows what an incredible musician he is! Forget diagnosing what he's doing.......just feel what he's playing.........if it doesn't make you sway & tap your foot constantly, you've got to be dead! I'd love to see him perform live with this band.........what a treat that would be. While I love other players as well, no one has his feel for the instrument. This is one monster guitar player!
Senior Member from Robben Ford Forum
It's one of the best CD's I've heard in a long time. It's been in the CD player since I got it.
I received the CD yesterday, and I just can't stop playing it. I was even up until 2AM (with head phones plugged in) this morning listening to it
This is just what the doctor ordered, as I hoped for a "Tiger Walk 2" CD from Robben (big thanks to Neil Larsen), which instead ended up being "Truth", the very enjoyable, albeit similar ground offering to his previous 2 CD's (the better of the 3, I may add!).
Although "Orbit" is not essentially a "Tiger Walk 2" CD, this jazzy offering has many excellent tracks on it, and I am listening to the 3rd track "Demonette" at the time of writing this, which has an absolutely mesmorising bass groove, and enchanting muscianship by all. Simply brilliant! Highly, and that's a high as it can go highly, recomended.
Apparently the CD has used some new technique to record the purest digital/live vibe possible, and boy it does just that. One of Robben's solo's sounds like he is in the corner of my sitting room playing through my amp!! I think you get the picture...... My choice for CD of the year, without a doubt.
I completely agree with DD.......CD of the Year! I'd love to see Orbit nominated for a Grammy Award in the Jazz Instrumental category. And, Straight Ahrad Records should receive an award, as well, for the spectacular recording.........one of the very best I've ever heard. Whoever decided to put this band together for this CD (more than likely Neil Larsen), he really knew exactly what he was looking for in musicianship. The overall feel of the music is really incredible.....from kick-ass grooves to laid-back coolness. And......what a crew of players! One last thing.........I have all of Robben's music and I think this is his finest hour! Orbit is at the very top of my RF playlist and it will take an incredible next effort to knock it down to #2!
Vintage Guitar Magazine
Neil Larsen is, or course, a wonderful keyboard player, but the guitarist in the all-star band here is Robben Ford. And, the recording is from Straight Ahead, which makes it a live-to-2-track recording. So, we have a lot of things here that make this a special record.
First, let's talk about the compositions. All 12 tracks are memorable for various reasons and the band, besides Larsen and Ford, includes Jimmy Haslip on bass, Tom Brechtlein on drums, Gary Meek on saxophone, and Lee Thornburg on trumpet. It's a formidable line-up and it works well.
For our purposes, let's talk guitar. Most of this is some form of fusion, and Ford's in fine form. Whether it's a percolating funk like the title cut which finds Robben playing an amazingly cool jazz solo, the lovely slow jazz shuffle C Note which plays to Robben's bluesy strengths, or the organ trio sound of Red Desert, which lets Robben echo Wes Montgomery, he's always on. It's hard in this day and age to find a player whose tone and choice of notes always seem perfect. This live setting also tends to favor Ford, who always seems to rise to the occasion when it comes to playing with other top flight players. It's been awhile since we've heard him in this setting, but his jazz chops are as good as ever. In fact, on some cuts, like the airy Shing, it's easy to forget the guy playing the lovely solo is the same guy I consider the finest blues/rock player around.
"The best Robben has ever sounded on recording"
Bud Scoppa Mix Magazine
"...Stunningly captures the interaction"
"Orbit is such a great gift...a musicians record..." "from a guy (neil) that is still largely overlooked in Jazz...Neil's songs have �been on over 60 diverse albums ...(Orbit) is Slick Yet Raw!"
> Amazing, amazing, amazing !!!! I received the disc today and I
> wish everything sounded this good.
> Thanx a mil.
> Alonzo Wright
> On Jan 4, 2008, at 3:06 PM, Director Straight Ahead Recs.mobile wrote:
>> Paul Grundman mobile.
>> Straight Ahead Records
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Alonzo
>> Sent: Thursday, January 03, 2008 8:06 PM
>> To: Director Straight Ahead Recs.mobile
>> Subject: Re: Orbit
>> Thanx a mil. You guys are the greatest. Maybe I could record my cd
>> with you guys. :)
>> Will reach out when I receive it.
>> On Jan 3, 2008, at 10:44 PM, Director Straight Ahead Recs.mobile
>>> Everybody is back at work and we cut you a cdr directly from the
>>> master that should play on any player. It might look green too but
>>> its not the same you'll see... Enjoy!
>>> Hang onto that other one though because the emerald audiophile
>>> series will be out of production for a while.
>>> Paul Grundman mobile.
>>> Straight Ahead Records
>>> -----Original Message-----
>>> From: Alonzo
>>> Sent: Monday, December 24, 2007 3:41 PM
>>> To: firstname.lastname@example.org
>>> Subject: Orbit
>>> Just received my copy of "Orbit" and it is a "green CD", and I am
>>> unable to get it to play on my computer (Mac). I have checked you site and I
>>> find nothing regarding playback priority.
>>> Please help. I am looking forward the hearing this.
EMERALD AUDIOPHILE SERIES CD!
"Emerald Audiophile Series" discs are actually made with a dark green polycarbonate, to help alleviate the potential problems associated with internal light refraction and enable a more accurate reading of the digital data from the optical disc. Originally created by MA Recordings and SAR's Asia distributor Todd Garfinkle. We listened to these against the standard aluminum CDS and were impressed -" They really do sound better" says Bernie Grundman. You know if Bernie says it, its true. We didn't want to have to make things differently and would have liked this "green cd" to be a hype thing so we wouldn't have to make them! In fact we won't be able to make them again for awhile since we have to buy so much of the raw material. You can get the Orbit CD now on Emerald Audiophile Series CD. BUT NOT FOR LONG SO BUY IT NOW! We (at this time 12/07) have 200 left. See our vendors online or buy here