Solo Concert in Finland
Keitele Jazz is the next venue for a Hellborg Solo Bass concert. Keitele is in the Northern Savonia region of Finland. A small town with a big Jazz Fest.
Slow by slow the Solo Bass project is picking up steam and is finding new directions after Jonas' reworking of the Silent Life. There should relatively soon be a new Solo Bass recording to document the new material developed during recent tours and concerts.
The Jazz Raj Story
The motivation behind the music on The Jazz Raj is not new for me. It has been a continuous process going back a decade or more. Just like Yehudi Menuhin was, I have always been deeply engaged in the two classical musics of the world, Indian and European. The two complement each other brilliantly.
One area where Indian Music is ahead is tonalities, scales or call them Rags or Ragas. Basically the tonal material you have accessible for you composition or improvisation.
In the west we are pretty much stuck with the diatonic scale of whole step whole step half step whole step whole step half step aka the Major Scale. Sure we start it on different intervals and call it different names, Phrygian Lydian e.t.c but it is still the same structure. Not in Indian Music. The tonalities of Indian music have all possible and seemingly impossible structures, but please do not think they are constructions, they are very natural sounding. My interest for a very long time has been to apply these tonalities to my western musical sensibilities in order to expand my vocabulary.
On a piece of music called Mirror on my record Icon I used a South Indian Raga called Kanakangi as the tonal material, the scale notes are C, C#, D, F, F#, G, A.
There is plenty of Indian rhythmical foundations on this record but we have integrated in a western approach. Of course mostly thanks to Ranjit Barot’s fabulous drumming. Ranjit is unique in that he is a western kit drummer with the entire Jazz and Rock vocabulary who at the same time is deeply rooted in the Indian rhythmic tradition. So again it is a synthesis of east and west that is no longer crude or apparent. It is a fusing of elements that enhances both musical worlds.
The journey however is taken in the real world.
The Jazz Raj was indeed real for the 3 of us and I do hope that it will take you on a journey as well.
New Album Releases
As many of you probably know already, Bardo Music recently released (not one but) two new Jonas Hellborg albums.
Close to seven years have been invested into the making of The Jazz Raj, by Jonas Hellborg's Art Metal trio including Swedish guitarist Mattias IA Eklundh and Indian drummer Ranjit Barot. It is described by Mr. Hellborg as his best record yet.
"That is a popular statement to make as you release a record. I do not think however that I have ever said that before and I don’t remember ever being so content about a record before. Particularly about my own playing on it." the Artist declared to Abstract Logix in an interview.
The other album that's being released simultaneously is a solo bass record, The Silent Life (Solo Bass 1990). The purity of an acoustic instrument into a dynamic flow of rhapsodic stories turned the first issue of this album in 1990 into an instant sellout. The revisited and resequenced new issue includes some completely new takes of the same pieces, from the same live recording session back in 1990, rendered with nothing else but fingers, acoustic bass guitar and two faithfully realistic microphones.