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Hellborg/Lane/Selvaganish/Umashankar/Umamahesh: Icon

Dan McClenaghan By

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Swedish-born bassist Jonas Hellborg—whose category-defying CDs have incorporated aspects of metal, jazz, fusion, Middle Eastern sounds, classical and punk—offers up Icon, music tinged with Sub-Continent sounds. He is joined by guitarist Shawn Lane, Indian percussionists V. Selvaganish and V. Umashankar, and Indian vocalist V. Umamahesh.

Hellborg has played with John McLaughlin and The Mahavishnu Orchestra and Public Image Ltd., and he cites as influences Jimi Hendrix, Deep Purple, and—interestingly—the original '60s power rock trio Cream. Interestingly, because Hellborg's bass style is reminiscent of ex-Cream bassist Jack Bruce: power and full-tilt energy combined with astonishing finesse, and the ability to take the instrument places it doesn't ususally go.

His drive and the muscular, punkish bottom end anchoring the airy and intricate Indian percussion is a marriage heaven sent. The extended workouts—"Mirror" is a soaring twenty-three minute dream—include interludes of Shawn Lane guitar/Jonas Hellborg bass interplay not unlike the some of the live Clapton/Bruce workouts, with the time-stretching Indian beat floating behind it. Also included are interludes of call and response percussion, the kind of thing that stereo was made for, with the hollow, lilting India beat shifting from one speaker to the other and back again.

This dream-like, innovative, and facinating outing makes one wonder why Indian sounds haven't been incorporated more into western jazz and popular music. Maybe Icon is the beginning of a groundswell.

www.bardorecords.com

Track Listing: Anchor, Mirror, Vehicle, Escape

Personnel: Jonas Hellborg, bass; Shawn Lane, guitar; V. Umamahesh, vocals; V. Selvaganesh, Kanjeera, Konokol; V. Umashankar, Ghatam, Konokol

Title: Icon | Year Released: 2003 | Record Label: Barto Records

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