Writing album reviews, sometimes brings nice surprises. This time I was granted with Jonathan Lundberg's latest effort; Iterations, presented as a Japanese pressing. I was already impressed by Jonathan's debut Nebula (2013, see review), an album that showed jazz rock and fusion tracks as well as instrumental progressive rock songs, played by a nice variety of Swedish musicians complemented with some internationally known names. So Jonathan was setting the bar pretty high and I was very curious to dive into the new compositions.
I think, due to the international recognition the debut album was getting, Jonathan Lundberg's 2017 release sees, besides his very gifted Swedish friends, some of the best international musicians of the genre. Listen to Freak, which has Derek Sherinian as a keyboard player and Pain Of Salvation's Gustav Hielm as a bass player. Together with returning guitar player Erik Linder, this track shows a brilliant combination of Planet X fusional power and Japanese more melodic jazz rock. Slightly different is the jazz rock oriented Evolution, where T-Square's Masato Honda is featured on sax and David Garfield of Karizma plays keyboards. This Los Lobotomys style track also shows the incredible bass work of Henrik Linder. In the basics, these two compositions are very representative for the whole album, both songs have their own style, but remain in the fusion meets jazz vibe. This one is much more a jazz rock album than Jonathan Lundberg's debut. Jonathan himself is a talent that should get even more recognition with the Iterations album, Although a track like Titan features a guitar riff that normally would refer to progressive metal, the overall sphere of the track is a heavy fusion one. Again one of the many highlights on this album. The amazing bass player Johannes Zetterberg leads in One Small Step, where his playing together with samples of Neil Armstrong's famous words on the moon, form the basis for the song. Guitarist Carl Mörner Ringström and keyboard player Joel Lyssarides both get a lot of space to excel over the playful rhythmic gymnastics of Jonathan. As I wrote earlier, the combination of the smoother jazzy compositions; Antikhytera, Bermuda, Muted and Behind The Moon; brilliant tracks btw and the fusion based tracks, Freak, Titan, Prim and Wedjat form a real solid album, that should appeal to both the “lighter jazz” fans as well to the heavy fusionatics. The final three tracks on the album add an extra blend of oriental influenced jazz rock, the kind that the Moonjune Label has been releasing the last couple of years. But notice how the wonderful bass of Hadrien Féraud sets fire to the furious Prim. Another highlight on an album filled with musical high quality music.
Jonathan Lundberg is not only an amazingly talented drummer, he also has the ability to compose technical, interesting music as well. Iterations shows a strong performance of very experienced musicians, bringing Jonathan's music to life. If you are into Planet X, T-Square, Scott Henderson and Virgil Donati's solo stuff, there's no need to listen first, Iterations should be an obligated buy.
***** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)
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