From LA Jazz Scene, LA's Only Jazz Paper
Guitarist Tomas Janzon reminds us that Jazz is still cool and always enjoyable. Beside him on this recommended session are bassist Nedra Wheeler and drummer Sherman Ferguson. Drummer Billy Higgins sits in for Victor Young's "Beautiful Love," while tenor saxophonist Lewis Taylor joins the trio on three others. Born in Stockholm, Sweden and trained at the city's preeminent Royal School of Music, Janzon later landed in LA to study at both the Guitar Institute and USC. His master's degree in classical guitar may help explain the virtuosic technique, but only a natural desire could possibly explain the cool swing he brings to the microphone.
Fresh ideas such as Janzon's "Six on Five" give the session variety and added energy as Janzon's output offers faint reflections of such eclectic sources as Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Carlos Santana. Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" provides a natural scene wherein drummer Ferguson lays hands on drums for the kind of treat LA audiences have grown to expect. Sounds emanate from handclaps as well as facial claps that alter the tones; such is the support Ferguson offers. Janzon and Lewis Taylor weave a New Orleans shuffle into "Catch'er" for the album's high point as Ferguson and Nedra Wheeler create a colorful backdrop. The session smokes while keeping things nice and cool.
by Jim Santella
(reprinted without permission).
Los Angeles New Times
Drummer Sherman Ferguson is one of the most versatile and well-rounded percussionists gigging in L.A., with vast experience behind him and the ability to bring something creative to every situation he plays in.
Recently, Ferguson's wife heard him with the Swedish guitarist Tomas Janzon and remarked: You play different with him than you do with other people." Janzon, an accomplished player with a lot of academic study under his belt, always looks for spiritual communication between musicians when he plays. Obviously, he has been most gratified by the recent musical imagination he found working with Ferguson and the groove-delicious bass techniques of Nedra Wheeler.
These three greats will share the bandstand for a brunch gig (noon to 3 p.m.) at Catalina's on Sunday. Janzon's engaging originals and inspired arrangements of outside material (Victor Young's "Beautiful Love" and Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" among them) can be heard to excellent advantage on his latest CD, X-Changes.
(reprinted without permission).
Originally from Sweden, mainstream jazz guitarist Tomas Janzon has settled in Los Angeles where he performs with the trio heard on his session. Highly recommended, the album and Janzon?s bio information may be found at his web site: http://www.tomasjanzon.com.
Janzon has written tunes for this project that allow the trio to run cool and seamless. Like "The Pink Panther," Janzon's "The Blue Frog" leaps forth with an attitude, as both guitar and tenor saxophone stretch out beyond the theme. The influence of contemporary straight-ahead guitarist Bill Frisell can be heard elsewhere, especially on the pensive "Archipelago Away," whose loose appearance is packed tight with ideas. The support Janzon gets from his band mates makes quite a difference, particularly from drummers Sherman Ferguson and Billy Higgins. Whether trading fours with Higgins on "Beautiful Love" or turning Ferguson loose on "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum," the leader creates an atmosphere where everyone comes together and turns out an excellent session.
Track Listing: Space Mail; 27 Years; The Blue Frog; Beautiful Love; Six on Five; Catch?er; Archipelago Away; Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum; No Moe.
Personnel: Tomas Janzon- guitar; Nedra Wheeler- bass; Sherman Ferguson- drums; Louis Taylor- tenor saxophone on "The Blue Frog," "Catch'er" and "No More;" Billy Higgins- drums on "Beautiful Love."
(reprinted without permission).
From Jazz Improv vol 3, no 1., (Jan.2001)
"a real jazz players 's album"
The first cut, called "Space Mail," tells us we have an intelligent player on our hands. The intervallic approach to this Janzon original sounds like "Pat Metheny meets Larry Coryell" - not necessarily the guitar sound, but the way the interplay among the ensemble enhances the playing techninque. The second cut continues this interesting sound texture with a tune that I would have mistaken for a standard or even another Metheny song. This Latin percussive texture works well with drummer Sherman Ferguson on brushes and the acoustic bass playing of Nedra Wheeler.
"The Blue Frog" opens with a tenor sax and guitar melody that smoothly works into Janzon's bluesy, over-the-top groove. I like the way that Janzon's second guitar appears to be part of the original section. The solo bass works well on this.
The Victor Youg tune, "Beautiful Love," shows that Janzon has the skill to arrange. He takes this and weaves a subtle counter melody along with the original before moving into the solos on the chord changes. The rhythm section shines by maintaining the strong backing needed to allow the guitar its own exploration. You can hear the vocal "groaning" on this one.
"Six on Five" sets a nice pace with the bass line over which Janzon gets into the feel once again and offers an interesting Scofield-like twist on melodies with comping. Drums and bass are locked in tightly with a nice percussion fade at the end. "Catch'er" gets even more "funky" with a rhythm groove that grabs the tenor sax playing of Louis Taylor. The guitar becomes more blues oriented slightly hints of the R&B groove at times. This is a jam piece for live performance where everyone can stretch.
Cut seven, "Archipelago Away," returns to the more elusive melody and mood setting of the Metheny and Frisell compositions of late. "Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum" is a Wayne Shorter tune that begins with a solo guitar introduction that adds the bass backing of Nedra Wheeler with interspersed percussion by Sherman Ferguson. The playing at times reminds me of Joe Pass, had Joe ever played the equipment that Janzon does. The sound is very close. I wish the playing of Nedra Wheeler was higher in the mix. This is a solid bassist in the jazz tradition of upright playing.
The CD ends with a 54 second taste of Sonny Rollins' tune (arranged by Janzon) called "No Moe." This is a real jazz player's album. I only wish there was more!
From Cadence Magazine,
Janzon is a guitarist of obvious merit. His work on X-Changes uncovers a musician with an abiding love and appreciation the variety of tonalities available to his instrument with the aid of amplification. Most of the tracks feature his working trio, with three cuts adding Taylor and another substituting the legendary Higgins for Ferguson in the drum seat. Though his lines are often heavily amplified, Janzon?s fretwork remains surprisingly agile and crisp. Recognizing their rhythmic responsibilities, Wheeler and Ferguson often adhere to a supportive role. Their concessions allow Janzon the room to move around and he takes full advantage, crafting thoughtful solos without ever sounding domineering. The tunes with Taylor sharing the frontline necessarily work off a slightly different dynamic and a funkier bent, but are no less stimulating. Adding a deal to the disc's successful deployment of tunes is the breathtaking clarity of the recording. This disc is easily recommended to listeners with a taste for mainstream Jazz guitar that retains and rejoices in a creative edge.
(reprinted without permission)