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Introduce me to Jonas Hellborg

Discussion in 'Bassists [BG]' started by BassAche, Mar 26, 2004.

  1. BassAche


    May 1, 2003
    I've been hearing a quite a bit about this guy lately, and I'm wondering who he is. Albums, background, influences, gear, etc...It's all welcome.
  2. Ens


    Feb 11, 2001
    This is quite a good site: <a href=http://www.jonashellborg.de/>www.jonashellborg.de</a>
  3. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    Jonas is for real. A serious m-f.
    He played with John McLaughlin in the 80's, has gone on to do lots of solo work and sideman stuff in the fusion area.

    I have a great album he did on his Wechter accoustic w/ Tony Williams and a string quartet -- all middle eastern influenced. It's called "The Word", and I recommend it for some very interesting bass playing.
    Also some several discs of the more recent Hellborg, Lane and Sipe stuff -- really badass if you like the improv jazz rock scenario; maybe straying in to Wank Country a bit, but still cool.
  4. My favourite Jonas Hellborg album is "The Silent Life" (1991). It's a solo album on which he plays his Wechter ABG exclusively, and without overdubs. The song "Roman" might be one of the most beautiful tunes ever.
    Apart from that one, "The Word" (1991) and "Ars Moriende", on which he plays with the percussionist Glen Velez (the cover doesn't say when it was released, but IIRC it's sometimes early-mid nineties) is great. I also like "Aram of the Two Rivers", which was recorded live with local musicians in Damascus 1996. All of these albums, on which Jonas plays his Wechter, lack the kind of fast superhero playing he's well known for, and which I personally couldn't care less about. But if you like your music to be fast, busy and electric, by all means, check out his work with Shawn Lane and Apt. Q-258 a.k.a. Jeff Sipe. It's impressive allright.
    If you want instead want your music to be fast, busy and acoustic, try his release with Buckethead and Michael Shrieve: "Octaves of the Holy Innocents" (1993). That one is actually quite cool.
    And for more info, check out http://bardorecords.com/.
  5. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    im a big fan of jonas playing style and music albums - i have them all, even the hard to find ones. i must say that i love these the best :
    1) the word
    2) Elegant Punk
    3) Abstract Logic
    4) Silent Life
    5) GOOD PEOPLE in Times of Evil.

    you can divide his stuff into 2 : the ones he plays his acoustic stuff and the ones he plays electric.
    on both instruments he has his unique sound.

    he also has 2 instruction books : one on chord playing and the other is about slap style i think.
    i have only the one about the chord playing and it's nice.
  6. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    Great fusion bassist, I recently just got into his playing a few months ago.

    There was this site with a lot of the media files he did with some indian percussionists and vocalists. Although i cannot find that site anymore

    this one has some webcasts

  7. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA
    BassAche this is Jonas Hellborg, Jonas Hellborg this is BassAche
  8. Josh Ryan

    Josh Ryan - that dog won't hunt, Monsignor. Supporting Member

    Mar 24, 2001
  9. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Seems like I've had and lost them all at one time or another...

    I saw Jonas in Winston Salem with Shawn Lane when I was in college at Wake Forest. I'm so glad I caught that show, especially given Shawn's passing. It was crazy! They didn't stop playing for two hours, but the most memorable moments for me were "Time is The Enemy" (also called Deep Umbra I think) and a really fast "Teen Town" at the end. Jonas played a Vigier Excess through an ART DI box with no amp...I think he had just flown in from somewhere exotic that day. What a cool guy. Drab clothing -- almost military fatigue like -- and the cropped hair and sqaureish glasses and beard. I think I have subconsiously been affecting that style ever since.

    I also remember seeing him affectionately greet a beautiful Asian woman at the show. He was just cool in every way. But I digress.

    My two favorites I no longer have, but they're:

    1. The Word. Just an amazing record that's totally different and more complex than everything else he's done. The concept is awesome, the compositions are phenomenal and the bass playing is excellent, excellent. I think it's the best and most serious thing he's ever put out, a really heavy record that fuses Bartok, Mahavishnu, Lifetime. I can't say enough about it...man I've got to get it again. Acoustic bass guitar, string quartet, Tony Williams? Come on. It's high minded, but it draws you in and kicks your ass!

    2. Not a Jonas record, but Two Doors by Michael Shrieve. Out of print, too.
    The is the record where the power trio of Lane and Hellborg originated, but with Michael Shrieve instead of Sipe. This record is by far the best studio recording by those two, and it crystallized the ideas that they jammed on for years after. Jonas is mainly supporting, but Shawn Lane is awesome on it...it doesn't meander at all like so many of their later things. I also prefer Shrieve to Sipe...he's not as heavy handed, lighter and crisper. Sipe is a rock fusion drummer, Shrieve a jazz fusion drummer who has a legit world music background (Lane and Hellborg). Every tune is great, excellent focus. A classic. Needs to be in print again.

  10. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    great albums !! no doubt...
  11. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    ha, I forgot I posted this... I crack me up.
  12. supermonkey


    Mar 15, 2004
    Atlanta, GA
    I thought I must've been one of the eight people on earth to dig "The Word". Glad to see others enjoyed it too....

    And that was pretty funny, there, SM..... :rolleyes: :smug:
  13. Wilbyman


    Sep 10, 2003
    Parkersburg, WV
    Oh yeah, definitely loved it.

    Has anybody checked out the new DVD? WAs this already asked?

  14. Matt Till

    Matt Till

    Jun 1, 2002
    Edinboro, PA

    I amuse myself, that counts for something. ;)
  15. BillyB_from_LZ

    BillyB_from_LZ Supporting Member

    Sep 7, 2000
    I recall reading an interview of Jonas from Guitar Player many years ago (before there was a Bass Player magazine). Seems to me he put out an album called Solobass but I've never been able to find either a copy or anyone that has heard it.

    Am I making this up?
  16. zombywoof5050


    Dec 20, 2001
    No, you are not making it up.
    I read the exact same thing and have not ever been able to find the album which is long out of print. I did extensive web searches and all I could find was that his very first album was called "The Bassic Thing" with no mention at all of "Solo Bass" (which I know you and I read about).
    So I'm as confused as you are about this, and I'd really like to get that one too.
  17. Asaf


    Jun 9, 2003
    i got it...
  18. bassjamn


    Jan 4, 2002
    San Francisco
    I have the Paris DVD , from www.abstractlogix.com
    Lots of melodic sections which sound great. And a few semi-rockish sections ...though it's quite different with the indian percussion in place of drums.
    Maybe it's just me but the closeup on the vocalists face as he is singing get a tad annoying.

    The V. brothers have log percussion solos at the end too.

    I hope they come out with a DVD of the trio Lane/Hellborg/Sipe that would be awesome.
  19. Jonas is a recent inspiration for me too - he's kinda old school with his slapping but that and his fingerstyle are pure class - he's a musician first and foremost but he gets so much across from what looks like an impossible to play acoustic bass. There's a tune called "Who Would You Like To Be" on Godd People In Times OF Evil - that has this very tricky fingerstyle line - that having now got the DVD (for free!) seems a lot easier to play than it sounds on the original CD - that alone makes him worth checking out. The Paris Live DVD is beautifully done but like the previous poster I'd love to see a trio one with Sipe released too.

    I have to admit I am still absolutely gutted that I missed the Indian quartet at Pizza Express Jazz Club in London about two years ago - I had know about Jonas for years then (<b>mainly through a stunning duet gig I saw him do with John McLaughlin on TV where he played his twin necked Wal - one fretted the other fretless</b>) and having been sent all their albums to review for a magazine I was deeply saddened to hear of Shawn's death last year - he was a monster - I hope Jonas can find a worthy replacement because I love what they were doing with both the pure rock/funk fusion and the Asian influenced stuff - all very inspiring music.

    Peace to you Jonas you are one heck of a great player.

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