Tomas Janzon is a traditional-jazz guitarist influenced by Wes Montgomery, with hints of Metheny and Scofield. It’s also obvious he has one of the best jazz-guitar tones you’ll hear.
Most of the songs here are old warhorses that could easily be cliché, but with the imaginative playing of Janzon, keyboardist Art Hillery, bassist Jeff Littleton, and drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, they are spared the indignity.
Janzon’s fat jazz sound is apparent on the opener, “Here’s That Rainy Day.” His first solo messes playfully with the melody, while the solo out mixes Wes-like octaves and chords. A hard-swinging version of “Billie’s Bounce” hits the solo hard with notes flying everywhere. “Moanin’” captures the inherent funkiness of the Bobby Timmons classic, and the solo is funky and original, but keeps jazz in the mix. “Float” is a Janzon original with a spooky, off-kilter feel where his bop solo fits perfectly. The other original, “Blue Bee,” has an airy feel that makes it stand out from the blues and funk. The record closes with a beautiful solo piece, “En Dejlig Rosa,” which showcases everything about Janzon’s playing that make this one of the best jazz guitar records from the past year.
This article originally appeared in VG‘s April ’11 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.