For those who have been missing fusion in today’s homogenized jazz market, this new recording by Swedish born bass and keyboard player Johannnes Zetterberg is perfect. Not only are the compositions top-notch, but the assisting musicians he brings along for the ride are some of the best in the business. While some names will be familiar to jazz followers, like saxophonist Eric Marienthal and keyboardist Jay Oliver, others like guitarist Erik Linder and saxophonist Jens Filipsson may not be. Don’t let this scare you off, Zetterberg has culled some of the best Nordic musicians to accompany him and the rest is incredible.
The recording opens with the power jazz-rocker "Thrill Minute." Linder’s guitar lead is strong and Jonas Isaksson’s guitar solo captures the excitement set up by Zetterberg’s composition and raises it to a whole new level. On "Another Exit," Oliver lights it up with a dazzlingly display of keyboard technique that fits like a hand in a snug glove with his rhythmic punctuations.
The Weather Report "Black Market" inspired "Quintana Roo" features some fantastic cross playing by Filipsson and Linder. Their trading of lines and then melding them together is finely wrought and expertly crafted. Aron Mellergardh’s drum set work provides solid propulsion behind Arvid Svenungsson’s synth solo before Zetterberg takes over the soloistic reigns with a clean and locked-in-the-pocket solo that is melodic and hip at the same time.
The lovely power ballad "Luna Nueva (Only A Dream)" proves Zetterberg can spin out touching melodies as artfully as Tom Scott during his 1980s period. Filipsson’s alto sax works within the harmonic structure as he slowly builds his solo higher and higher in both tessitura and soulful expression. This young Swedish musician is someone to watch. With solid harmonic conceptualizations and full tone, his time is just about ripe to come to the world stage.
Eric Marienthal’s upper chordal structure solo on "Adrenochrome" is yet another example of just how great a saxophonist he is. Melding advanced chromatic concepts with a firm lock to the key, Marienthal proves his talent goes far beyond some of the smooth jazz recordings he’s made as a leader. It’s nice to hear him just lay-it-down by taking no prisoners.
It’s so rare to hear good electric jazz these days and if one has to go across the pond to find it, then be fearless and make the jaunt. If you like the Chick Corea Elektric Band, you’ll love this recording. If this recording is a portent for things to come, then Zetterberg’s future is bright indeed.