The release is an incredibly original, entertainingly diverse, cohesive body of music. On 13 tracks, styles range from contemporary jazz to hard bop and plenty of Lorber’s signature funky fusion vibe. The All Star lineup bring their best playing game to the project, with excellent performances by Gerald Albright, Brian Bromberg, Chris Botti, Randy Brecker, Tom Scott, Kirk Whalum, Hubert, Laws, Alex Al, Vinnie Colaiuta, Russell Malone, Paul Brown, Dave Weckl, Bob Sheppard, Paul Jackson Jr., Abraham Laboriel Jr., Tom Scott and the Blood, Sweat & Tears horn section.
Featured vocalist Eric Benét sings the 1971 Bill Withers’ classic "Grandma’s Hands." Paula Cole duets with Benét on her original song "The Other Side of the Heart" written with Lorber for the album. Powerhouse horn ensembles are arranged by the masterful Tom Scott. Lorber himself takes a turn at arranging for a horn section on "Super Fusion Unit". World famous orchestrator Jeremy Lubbock fills out the lush sound experience on "Anthem for a New America."
With Tom Scott’s killer horn arrangements, "All Most Blues" harkens back to jazz of the early ‘60s reflecting a Miles Davis mood. Lorber indulges in some "BC Bop" inspired by the chord changes of Charlie Parker’s "Confirmation." Featuring Randy Brecker’s hot trumpet, "Surreptitious" shows off that tight horn section and Lorber’s incredible keyboards, pulling off a cool Herbie Hancock vibe.
The CD features Lorber’s best playing ever - it is free, open, inventive, expressive, adventurous, unencumbered, and soulful. He attributes the expanse of his playing to the collaborative process involved in creating this album. Mixed by Paul Brown and produced by Blood, Sweat & Tears original drummer Bobby Colomby, Lorber explains "The whole process was more spontaneous and more of a playing situation. Everything was recorded live with very organic instruments, not very much synthesis at all. That whole approach lent itself toward moving the action out of the computer and into the studio, playing and interacting with live musicians."
On "Orchid," Chris Botti composed and creates a compelling mood performing on trumpet. Lorber says Botti came up with the melody on the spot. In fact, Lorber previously worked with Bobby Colomby on two of Chris Botti’s groundbreaking CDs. That high level of excellence is what Colomby and Lorber strove to achieve on He Had A Hat. "As a drummer, Bobby is versant in all things rhythmic, but his real love is harmony," explains Lorber. "He was really pushing me at all times to make sure that each song had some substantial chord changes and harmonic movement behind it. I think that’s one thing that makes the record hang together." Mission accomplished, gentlemen! Something very special is happening here.