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Jonas Hellborg - Icon - A Transcontinental Gathering (with  Shawn Lane ,Umamahesh, Selvaganesh,Umashankar) CD (album) cover

ICON - A TRANSCONTINENTAL GATHERING (WITH SHAWN LANE ,UMAMAHESH, SELVAGANESH,UMASHANKAR)

Jonas Hellborg

 

Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 8 ratings

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Dick Heath
Special Collaborator
Jazz-Rock Specialist
4 stars Indo-jazz fusion for the 21st Century INDO JAZZ FUSION

Ever since Joe Harriott and John Mayer produced probably the first fusion albums in the mid 60's, "Indo-jazz Fusions", a number of successful successors have appeared on record. Notably the early and later incarnations of Shakti, some of Jan Garbarek's recordings (e.g. "Ragas & Sagas"), and works by the late Collin Walcott (including those with Oregon), (Levi) Shankar (whose collaboration ranged from Zappa to Gabriel), Zakir Hussain (notably "Making Music"), and Trilok Gurtu (both in his solo albums and also with Oregon). "Icon" most certainly has to be included in the list of essential Indo-jazz recordings.

Hellborg and the late Shawn Lane are known for their extensive range of musical tastes and influences, both together and apart. So their collaboration with Indian musicians in making an "Indian album" is not surprising. Jonas Hellborg has already made a number of world jazz albums, for instance "Aram of Two Rivers", , while Shawn Lane is clearly a devotee of Nusrat Fatah Ali Khan - as witness his wordless Qawwali-like vocals on several tracks on Michael Shrieve's "Two Doors" and on the earlier Hellborg-Lane album "Abstract Logic".

On "Icon", Hellborg and Lane are the named stars. Hellborg playing masterful, free bass, as you would expect of one of the heirs to Pastorius's throne, providing the western feel to the arrangements. Lane's rapid shredding often heard elsewhere, gives way to both reflective soloing, and more often the injection of (a scene-setting), high drone heard elsewhere from traditional Indian stringed instruments in ragas. However, the Indian musicians are allowed plenty of space to play, in providing the Indian percussion and the vocals. For instance, about 7 minutes into the first track "Anchor", there is a delightful and astonishing call and reply duet, in the onomatopoetic language of tabla players.

The DVD issued about 18 months after this recording 'Paris' is strongly recommended, as providing other tunes, and the visuals which clearly show the virtuosity and the pleasure these musicians have playing together.

In summary, an excellent Indo-jazz fusion album further demonstrating the rich and varied vein of music, this hybrid offers. Also a marvellous swansong from Shawn Lane, who died tragically at the age of 40, September 2003.

Close to 5 star but not quite!

Dick Heath | 4/5 |

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