The latest release from guitarist and band leader, Tomas Janzon is “Nomadic.” Released May 1, 2023, the songs live up to Janzon’s reputation for creating lyrical, tasteful, and subtle works. In addition, Janzon’s songs are noted for being “unpredictable,” except that they are always excellent.
About Tomas Janzon
A native of Stockholm, Sweden, Janzon proved to be musically inclined at an early age. His musical adventure began with his learning to play the recorder at age seven. Janzon moved on to the cello at eight years old. It took four years (the length of his stint with a chamber orchestra). After, Janzon switched to guitar. The new instrument led to studies at the Royal School of Music in Stockholm. He was a busy and sought after musician throughout Sweden and the Northern Europe. Amid tours and recordings, Janzon also composed music for television and films. His work eventually led him to Los Angeles. Where he continued to perform and also became an adjunct professor from 1995 until 2008. After living in Los Angeles, Janzon moved to New York in 2010. He has performed throughout the United States. “Nomadic” is Janzon’s sixth album as a bandleader.
The sound of Tomas Janzon: “Rob’s Piano”
Drummer Chuck McPherson calls “Rob’s Piano” a “Buhaina shuffle” in the style of Art Blakely. The song is recommended both for those who do not know what “Buhaina shuffle” refers to, and for those who are enamored with the works of Art Blakely.
“Rob’s Piano” is masterful. If elements in a jazz song could be likened to those in a floral bouquet, the track is full of a variety of notes. The overall element is bass-filled jazz. The notes are bluesy, deep, and full of a swinging sensation that makes listeners want to move their shoulders, and perhaps their feet, too. The deep notes are layered with nimble notes of guitar and vibraphone. The drums offer surprising, shimmery crashes that complete the soundscape. The overall experience of the song is that all the notes, the elements work together to create interest, to make listeners want more.
“Night Watch” by Tomas Janzon
The song “Night Watch” was composed during the COVID pandemic era. “Night Watch” was inspired by Janzon’s experience thinking about music one night during the COVID era.
The song opens brightly with a motif of vibraphone, augmented by percussion crashes. The guitar comes in, and the vibraphone twinkles in a a light-hearted and energetic way. The guitar and bass work together to ground the song, and take over the soundscape. However, the drums are contributing a rhythmic rumble that later gives way to soft crashing. The interplay between all the elements inspires intellectual leanings, and listeners can understand how the song was inspired by the singular experience of COVID era life. Described as a 9/4 jazz waltz, “Night Watch” has a moving feel that encourages repeat listening.
“Nomadic” is one of those albums that is cool without trying too hard, and smart without becoming boring. A smart set of 11 songs, eight of which are original, “Nomadic” entertains, but teaches at the same time.