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Tomas Janzon: Experiences

Jim Santella By

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Hanging out with straight-ahead jazz from a veteran quartet is like vacationing in an out-of-the-way place where there are no cares for weeks on end. This place would lead to feeling good and being rested for a long time. Both jazz and vacation offer rare qualities without interference, and both provide stimulating forces from the inside out.

Guitarist Tomas Janzon leads his quartet on Experiences, where jazz standards receive the respect due them and improvisation serves as the focus. As the album title suggests, Janzon sweeps guitar lines up, down and around as he feels them, releasing soulful sounds along the way. "Moanin,'" "Here's That Rainy Day," "Billie's Bounce" and Wes Montgomery's "Full House" provide clear examples, as gentle memories sway back and forth.

Janzon's fluid attack and seamless approach allow melodies to glide like seasoned ballroom dancers, effortlessly in a continuous swirl where the senses are asked to share in appreciation. With his 1959 Gibson L7 archtop guitar, the leader interprets seven standards, two originals and one Swedish folk song.

Originally from Sollentuna, a suburb of Stockholm, Janzon lived in Los Angeles for 18 years and earned a master's degree in classical guitar from The University of Southern California before moving to New York. Recorded in Pasadena, CA, this quartet features local pianist/organist Art Hillery, who continues to swing with spontaneity; bassist Jeff Littleton who rocks a mighty fine foundation and solos with authority; and drummer Albert "Tootie" Heath, who underpins the rhythm section quite well. All told, this ensemble captures the essence of straight-ahead jazz and updates matters thoroughly with a refusal to play it as has been done before.

Track Listing: Here's That Rainy Day; Theme from Mr. Broadway; Float; En Dejlig Rosa; Moanin'; Full House; Blue Bee;Billie's Bounce; Polka Dots and Moonbeams; Messin' Around; En Dejlig Rosa.

Personnel: Tomas Janzon: guitar; Art Hillery: piano, organ; Jeff Littleton: bass; Albert "Tootie" Heath: drums.

Title: Experiences | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: Changes Music - Tomas Janzon

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