Charles Samuel “Chuck” Loeb (December 7, 1955 – July 31, 2017) was an American jazz guitarist and a member of the groups Steps Ahead and Fourplay.
Loeb was born in Nyack, New York, near New York City. At a young age, he listened to Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Cream, Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and Bob Dylan. According to a 2005 JazzTimes article, the first song he learned on guitar was Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone”, which he would later play at a guest appearance with Dylan. He discovered jazz when he was sixteen through the music of guitarists Wes Montgomery, George Benson, John McLaughlin, and Pat Martino. At that point, Loeb chose to become a musician and “never thought of doing anything else”.
He studied with local music teachers, then traveled to Philadelphia and became a student of jazz guitarist Dennis Sandole. In New York City, he learned from Jim Hall. For two years he attended Berklee College of Music in Boston, then left in 1976 to seek professional work in New York City.
In New York, Loeb played with Chico Hamilton, Ray Barreto, and Hubert Laws. Starting in 1979, he was a member of Stan Getz’s group. Getz later became the best man at his wedding to singer Carmen Cuesta. Loeb and Mitchel Forman, who was also in Getz’s group, formed the jazz fusion band Metro (1994). In the 1980s, he was a member of the group Steps Ahead, which included Michael Brecker, someone Loeb credits as an influence. He replaced Larry Carlton as guitarist in Fourplay (2010).
Loeb and his wife have recorded together, with Cuesta providing vocals on his albums and Loeb playing on Cuesta’s albums, and their daughters Lizzy and Christina contributing vocals.
Loeb began a solo career in 1988 with his debut album My Shining Hour on the Japanese record label Pony Canyon. He released subsequent albums on DMP Digital Music Products among which “Life Colors” (1990) until receiving commercial success with Shanachie Records on The Music Inside (1996). The title song from the album held the number one position on the jazz charts for six weeks. Later, he produced Moon, the Stars, & the Setting Sun (1998), Listen(1999) In a Heartbeat (2001), and All There Is (2002).
Loeb’s music has appeared on TV shows, commercials, and movie soundtracks, including The Untouchables, You’ve Got Mail, and Hitch.
Loeb died of cancer on July 31, 2017, at the age of 61 (by wikipedia)
Chuck Loeb’s All There Is is proof that one can be a tasteful guitarist working in the often-derided smooth jazz style and still be capable of making albums that are more than just easy listening sludge. Recorded in a simple small-group setting with no extraneous “special guests” around to muddy up the sound, Loeb unspools ten originals and tasteful covers (none of the tacky ’70s AM pop crossover attempts that marred 2001’s In a Heartbeat) in a relaxed style that never quite gets mellow in the pejorative sense. Clearly inspired by Wes Montgomery and George Benson’s work with Creed Taylor, Loeb steers clear of the pitfalls endemic to that style, maintaining melodic interest while never merely playing prettily. Even the Brazilian-influenced “Sarao,” which flirts with Chuck Mangione-style disco-pop thanks to the utterly retro ARP synth line and cooing female vocals, maintains its integrity thanks to some trickily precise soloing by Loeb and a rhythm section that actually has a bit of funk to it. All There Is is not for those raised on a diet of Ornette Coleman and ESP, but there’s a place for mood music, and this does it better than most. (by Stewart Mason)
David Charles (percussion)
Carmen Cuesta (vocals)
Barry Danielian (trumpet, flugelhorn)
Brian Dunne (drums)
Ron Jenkins (bass)
Jeff Kashiwa (saxophone)
Will Lee (bass)
Chuck Loeb (guitar, keyboards, drum programming)
David Mann (keyboards, saxophone, flut, drum programming)
Mike Pope (bass)
Mike Ricchiuti (keyboards)
Andy Snitzer (saxophone)
Kirk Whalum (saxophone)
01. As Is (Loeb) 5.17
02. Sierra Nevada (Loeb/Mann) 4.22
03. True Or False (Dunne/Loeb/Ricchiuti/Jenkins) 5.23
04. Golden Heart (Loeb) 5.10
05. Sarao (Cuesta/Loeb) 5.32
06. Fundamentally Sound (Cuesta/Loeb) 4.49
07. In The Hands (Loeb/Lee) 5.09
08. Tenerife Blue (Loeb) 5.20
09. Bread & Butter (Loeb) 5.28
10. Love Is All There Is (Cuesta) 2.57