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Album Review

The albums that bassist Jonas Hellborg has made with guitarist Shawn Lane and drummer Jeff Sipes (aka Apt. Q-258) have all been an invigorating blend of jaw-dropping virtuosity and immediately accessible melodic and harmonic beauty. Personae is no exception to what has now become a pretty well established rule. As usual, Lane's guitar tends to be the focus of the compositions and takes the lead role in the performances. His style is quite elaborate and "notey," but he rarely places flash over substance — the joyful lyricism of his playing on " Heretics" is a fine example. Even when the density of his technique threatens to overwhelm the music, as it does on "Rice With the Angels," that very density creates its own interest and its own harmonic identity. Only fellow guitarists will be likely to find every minute of each long composition completely enthralling, but there's no denying both the excitement of his style and the depth of his musical thinking. Then there's Hellborg himself, who rarely chooses an inessential note and never fails to impress with his own amazing technical prowess. Sipe is a sympathetic and intuitive accompanist who never tries to upstage the others. Personae is a worthy contribution to the growing catalog of excellent recordings by this trio.


Born: 1958 in Gothenburg, Sweden

Genre: Jazz

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

A wild improviser, bassist Jonas Hellborg leans more toward rock than jazz. Drawing inspiration from Jimi Hendrix, Arabic music, and Lifetime, Hellborg began playing professionally in the mid-'80s. After some session work (including Pil's Album, Ginger Baker's Middle Passage, and sessions with John McLaughlin's new Mahavishnu Orchestra), he released The Word on Axiom in 1991. The album features Hellborg's acoustic bass, drums, and a string...
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Personae, Jonas Hellborg
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