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Temporal Analogues of Paradise by Jonas Hellborg

I have to admit that when I read the promotional sheet on this recording, "crucial in raising the Jam Band bar in the 90s", I was concerned. For me the whole jam band thing has worn a little thin. Too often I hear groups that lock into a groove and solo aimlessly for far too long, never seeming to develop anything. The good news is that bassist Jonas Hellborg has decided to remaster and reissue Temporal Analogues of Paradise, a series of improvisations with guitarist Shawn Lane and drummer Apt. Q-258 (a strange moniker for Jeff Sipe) that show it is possible to have extended improvisations without either resorting to unnecessary pyrotechnical displays or relying strictly on groove to maintain interest.

Not that there isn’t plenty of top notch playing to be found here. Culled from improvisations recorded in Sweden, Germany and France in 1995, and edited into two half-hour pieces, simply titled "1st Movement " and "2nd Movement", there is plenty of diversity of groove and performance to be found.

Hellborg, a bassist with a big sound and an astounding command of a variety of techniques, calls himself a bass guitarist, as opposed to an electric bassist. This might lead one to think that he is more concerned with melody and not the traditional timekeeping role of a bassist, and that’s not far from the truth. But Hellborg also has the ability to lock into a groove and lay a rhythmic foundation when necessary. His solos have a melodic invention that sets him apart from most slapping and thumping bassists.

Lane has a command of the guitar that is frightening. But coupled with that knowledge is a sense of melody and development that always make his solos go somewhere. While there are plenty of dazzling displays of technique, they are never for their own sake. With a wide variety of tones and textures at his disposal, Lane is the consummate improvising rock guitarist.

Apt. Q-258, for all his chops, is a remarkably melodic percussionist. When he solos you can almost hum along. And when he locks into a groove with Hellborg to support one of Lane’s solos.... watch out. For all his ability, groove is still paramount.

Together as a trio, Hellborg, Lane and Sipe have an uncanny chemistry. Each instrument is allowed the freedom to either support or lead the proceedings, and it is interesting to hear each player drive the different sections within the two movements. Some are clearly edited together from the various performances, but others are unquestionably the result of three players who are deeply connected musically.

Both movements travel through a number of feels, from ambling, relaxed grooves to more intense shredding. This is improvised music which, though there are clear harmonic influences from jazz and world music, definitely leans more to rock. Hellborg and Lane have gone on to explore world music with releases such as GOOD PEOPLE In Times of Evil, but Temporal Analogues of Paradise is a Fusion record with a capital F. For fans of take-no-prisoners fusion, with a strong sense of melody from all involved, you can’t do much better than this.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Jonas Hellborg
  • CD Title: Temporal Analogues of Paradise
  • Genre: Fusion
  • Year Released: 2003
  • Reissue Original Release: 1996
  • Record Label: Bardo Music
  • Tracks: 1st Movement, 2nd Movement
  • Musicians: Jonas Hellborg (electric bass), Shawn Lane (electric guitar), APT. Q258, (drums)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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