Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tomas Janzon: Subtle and Swinging Guitar

If you like a mainstream sort of jazz guitar, there's Tomas Janzon, Swedish native, New York resident, and someone who benefited greatly from listening to Wes Montgomery. He has a CD out this season, Experiences (Changes Music 113), and it manages to put together chops with a kind of charm.

He's playing a 1959 Gibson semi-hollow, and he turns down the treble to get that mellow sound that Wes and others of his era favored. He's wisely chosen a threesome of players who know how to get the most out the style Tomas works within. "Tootie" Heath is on the drums, and he sounds as good as he ever did. Art Hillary on organ & piano and Jeff Littleton on acoustic bass make the session a breeze.

The program runs through a couple of American Songbook standards, five jazz repertoire staples, a Janzon original, and a Swedish folksong in a studio and a live version.

What's important is how Janzon shows his Wes roots and admiration by building on the Riverside-period sound and style of the master rather than slavishly imitating him.

I find that worth plenty of ear-time. If you follow the Montgomery school of stringing, this will be a good one to pick up. It's quite enjoyable regardless.

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