With a smooth sound bringing together elements of funk, R&B, rock, and electric jazz, keyboardist Jeff Lorber helped pioneer a genre of fusion later formatted under such names as NAC and contemporary jazz. Born in Philadelphia on November 4, 1952, he began playing the piano at the age of four, and as a teen performed with a variety of local R&B bands. Lorber's infatuation with jazz began during his stay at the Berklee College of Music, and after forming the Jeff Lorber Fusion he issued the group's self-titled debut in 1977. During the first half of the following decade, the band became one of the most popular jazz acts of the period, touring nonstop and even scoring a Best R&B Instrumental Grammy nomination for the radio hit "Pacific Coast Highway." Released in 1986, Private Passion was Lorber's most successful outing yet, but at this commercial peak he stopped recording, instead turning to production and session work.