Monday, November 15, 2010

Tomas Janzon: Experiences

Changes Music
By Ric Bang
Buy CD: Experiences

Here’s another example of the high-quality jazz coming from musicians outside the United States. Tomas Janzon was born in Stockholm, Sweden. Like many youngsters, he started out on a recorder; he switched to the cello at age 8, and by 12 was performing with the Chamber Orchestra Collegium Musicum. He began to focus on the guitar while in his teens.

Janzon first was attracted to J.S. Bach and then, not many years later, heard Charlie Parker’s “Cool Blues”; that catalyst resulted in a move to Los Angeles, where Janzon studied at the Guitar Institute of Technology, graduating as the outstanding player of the year; he still teaches there as an adjunct staff member.

He currently resides in New York City but tours, teaches and performs in the states, Canada and Europe.

Experiences features Janzon’s quartet: keyboardist Art Hillary, bassist Jeff Littleton and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath (brother of bassist Percy and saxophonist Jimmy). This album’s title is literal; each tune relates to an event or experience that affected Janzon’s musical life. Many are familiar jazz standards (“Here’s That Rainy Day,” “Polka Dots and Moonbeams,” “Moanin’,” “Full House,” and “Billie’s Bounce”); a couple are Janzon originals (“Float” and “Blue Bee”); another is a lesser-known composition by Dave Brubeck (“Theme From Mr. Broadway”); and two are Swedish folksongs.
All have one thing in common: They swing softly and delightfully.

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