Friday, August 08, 2008

Jonas Hellborg - The Word

About Hellborg, from Wikipedia:
"Jonas a Swedish bass guitarist. He has collaborated with John McLaughlin, Ustad Sultan Khan, Fazal Qureshi, Bill Laswell, Shawn Lane, Jens Johansson, Michael Shrieve, V. Selvaganesh, Mattias IA Eklundh and Buckethead...Hellborg began his music career in 1976 in Sweden...spotted by percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah in a small club in Stockholm 1979...he moved to London for a year to work with Reebop on different projects...met Mike Brecker who introduced him to John McLaughlin, Billy Cobham and other fusion stars...was asked to join John McLaughlin’s reformed Mahavishnu in 1983 and he stayed with McLaughlin until 1988...In 1986 and 1987 he toured with a project featuring Ginger Baker on drums and Bernie Worrell on keyboards...In 1988 Hellborg moved to New York and started his own band which first included keyboardist Aydin Esen and drummer Kenwood Dennard, later the Johansson Brothers Jens on Keys and Anders on drums. At the same time he started a recording studio together with producer/Bassist Bill Laswell called Greenpoint Studios. Recorded a multitude of records there until early 1993...In 1993 he sold his part in the studio to Laswell and resettled in Paris, France. The following year he teamed up with guitarist Shawn Lane, a cooperation that would last 9 years...In 1998 Hellborg met percussionist V. Selvaganesh at a Zakir Hussein concert in Paris. The two formed another long lasting musical partnership that has been ongoing since then. To start with Selvaganesh joined Hellborg in duets and in different "classical" settings Hellborg was working on at the time. Later a group was formed first in Trio with Lane then grew into a quintet including Selvaganesh’s 2 brothers V Umashankar and V. Umamahesh. 2 CD’s and a DVD were produced with this group. After Shawn Lane's tragic death in 2003, Hellborg has continued to explore amalgamations of Indian and "Western" music. Working with Indian masters as Debashish Bhattacharya, Niladri Kumar, Vikku Vinayakram, Tanmoy Bose and U Shrinivas. He has also started a new Metal-Fusion project with guitarist Mattias IA Eklundh called Art Metal...Hellborg founded his own record label Day Eight Music in 1979 releasing his first solo bass record – an early showcase of his pioneering chordal, and for the time very advanced, slapping approaches. It is also noteworthy that it was the first LP ever to feature solely bass guitar. With the move to the US a new entity was formed called Bardo Music that took over the responsibilities of Hellborgs output now counting around 40 odd releases...Hellborg has been involved in instrument design from early on in his career. Starting with a signature model for the Japanese company Aria, the first ever biamped Bass Amp in cooperation with Italian company FBT, a double neck bass, fretted and fretless, for British company Wal in 1983 and the invention in 1984 of the modern Acoustic Bass Guitar in collaboration with/built by master luthier Abraham Wechter...After working with a further half dozen of other companies with signature models and inventions he now, together with Warwick Basses, created a new bass and a high end line of bass amplification that incorporates a set of innovations not yet seen in any other bass amp..."

About The Word, from All Music Guide:
"This is an intriguing and rather original set of music. Jonas Hellborg, whose conception of the acoustic bass guitar is much closer to a guitar than to a bass, teams up with drummer Tony Williams and the flexible Soldier String Quartet. The sparse sextet explores songs that (according to the liners) are influenced by Arab music, Jimi Hendrix, Tony Williams' Lifetime and Bartok. A variety of moods are explored and the unusual blend of instruments and styles grow in interest each time they are heard. It is a pity though that the playing time is less than 37 minutes."

Jonas Hellborg - The Word