Seagram's 100 Pipers Legends Live Presents The Jonas Hellborg Group, featuring Mattias IA Eklundh and Morgan Agren
12th November / 7:30 PM, ITC Hotel Windsor Sheraton & Towers, Bangalore
When I finally realised that I was going to get to watch this show for sure, I was beside myself with excitement. Mattias Eklundh is probably my favourite guitarist (he also fronts the brilliant Swedish Prog-rock act Freak Kitchen). His proficiency, feel and versatility have always been a major source of inspiration for lil' ol' me. Jonas Hellborg is a renowned bass player and jazz exponent, and has collaborated with V Selvaganesh on various projects.
Eklundh made it very clear that the night would be loud. Very loud. And they delivered. The trio performed a selection of tracks from Hellborg's albums and compositions, including 2 new untitled pieces . I think the exact genre would be heavy metal jazz, and I've never heard anything like it. This was especially fascinating for me, since I've just begun getting into jazz (Pat Metheny, Alex Skolnick Trio, Thelonious Monk, John McLaughlin, et al), and seeing some of the best in the business at work (or was it play?) was just the thing to propel my interest further.
Eklundh exhibits some very fluid playing, but also brings a lot of start-stop stacatto riffing to the table, and a whole lot of whammy histrionics. But what is even more astounding is his sense of melody. Hellborg really brought the house down with his bass mastery. His style is very expressive, and refreshingly no-holds-barred. Agren is a great drummer to watch. Every beat resonated with energy, and his drum solos were truly stuff of legend.
My favourite piece was Who Do You Want To Be?, primarily for its ferocity and marvellous composition. On the whole, this was one of the best jazz concerts I've been to. It was great meeting Eklundh in person as well; a very down-to-earth, peaceful Viking... Once again, props to Sunil Chandy for taking me along (and darling little Kiarna for sacrificing her ticket!). All hail the Swedes!