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Zeeland by Jon Zeeman

Guitarist/composer Jon Zeeman states that this project splits his strengths here on this rather well-conceived album between jazz, blues, and funk--that magical fusion potion. That formula is evident to some extent, but it's also sprinkled with very healthy doses of rock influence (among those with whom he’s played are the southern rocking Allman Brothers Band). Zeeland is a very professional and intensely electric blend of all that drives any listener seeking heavy and excited backbeats and fat bass lines, as well as cleverly smooth melodies and chords. He shows here that this blend, often hard to master in equal doses by many, comes easy to him and his band. After a long associated with guitarist Susan Tedeschi, this is Zeeman’s second album (his first, Still Life, was released back in 2003), and it is, quite simply, qualified.

Zeeman’s blues is colorful and dominant. While, as he acknowledges there are other ingredients in his recipe (serious funk and some jazz touches), his blues is outspoken and riveting. Listening to such offerings as "Slow Night Blues," "Kingsize," "Coral," and "Hard Roll" quickly convinced me that this is an artist in touch with the bluesy goings-on in his soul. There is a bold, distinct statement in his presentation that says no, screams "blues and funk are king!" This is all happening as he consistently maintains the very essence and intensity of rock theory in undertones that are not so "under" on a few cuts here. His power chords are of epic proportions without being excessively and disturbingly distorted.

The allure of Zeeland will surely appeal to every electric bluesman who fancies himself in control of that genre, including the likes of the late Stevie Ray Vaughan and the great B.B. King (of course, there’s an omnipresent pairing with B.B. and "Lucille" that’s just plain hard to match, in my opinion). Still, Zeeman is about as versatile a blues/funk/jazz artist as I’ve heard in a while. Yes, I do like this guy! Do yourself a big favor and give this album a listen. I’ll go out on a limb here and say, as I’ve said only sparingly in past reviews of others, that here’s someone who just may be here to stay as long as he stays with his tantalizing style and energy.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jon Zeeman
  • CD Title: Zeeland
  • Genre: Blues
  • Year Released: 2008
  • Record Label: Membrane Records
  • Tracks: Mr. Head, Surfside, Zeeland, Slow Night Blues, Kingsize, Coral, Hard Roll, Get It, D.A. Blues, Y, Mr. Head (Reprise)
  • Musicians: Jon Zeeman (all guitars), Phil McArthur, Ilken Deniz, Randy Ward (basses), Bob Taylor, Tom Regis, Jon Zeeman (piano & keyboards), John Michaelak (saxophone), Keith Cronin, George Lily (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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