Become a member and get exclusive access to articles, live sessions and more!
Start Your Free Trial

Jonas Hellborg/Shawn Lane/Jeff Sipe: Personae

While Jonas Hellborg, the former bassist for the Mahavishnu Orchestra (’80s edition), has dealt almost exclusively in acoustic, Middle Eastern-flavored exotica of late, his most recent offering is a rip-roaring, no-holds-barred, electrified fusion affair with a capital ‘F.’ A live set of mostly improvised long-form compositions recorded in Germany, Personae is primarily a showcase for the frightening fretboard fusillades and swirling psychedelia of Shawn Lane, a ridiculously accomplished electric-guitar virtuoso on par with Joe Satriani, Steve Vai, Allan Holdsworth, Steve Morse, Frank Gambale and other fire-breathing ax manglers.

With Hellborg’s low-end tones providing the sonic anchor and Jeff Sipe’s crisp, muscular backbeats lending the crunch factor, Lane wails with impunity on the blistering opener “Time Is the Enemy,” full of challenging, fusionesque unison lines, and on the 20-minute excursion “Rag B/B.” Hellborg also struts his own signature single-note and slap-bass virtuosity on the drone-oriented “Rag B/B,” while Sipe nimbly shifts gears from polyrhythmic pulse to powerful pocket playing to sizzling ride-cymbal swing patterns.

Start Your Free Trial to Continue Reading

Become a JazzTimes member to explore our complete archive of interviews, profiles, columns, and reviews written by music's best journalists and critics.
Originally Published