Tomas Janzon, Nomadic Review
Nomadic: A Gentle Journey Through Tomas Janzon’s Musical Landscape
by Nolan DeBuke
Tomas Janzon is back with his sixth album as a leader with Nomadic. The Stockholm-born guitarist takes us on a musical journey that is as diverse and expansive as his own life experiences as he blends different musical styles and influences through a set of eleven songs. The first four and last four tracks are Janzon’s own, showcasing his compositional skills and his ability to create music that is both complex and accessible. The middle of the album features covers of McCoy Tyner’s tranquil “Search for Peace,” Sonny Rollins’ “Valse Hot,” and Lee Konitz & Tadd Dameron’s light-hearted “Subconscious Lee/Hot House.”. Janzon’s guitar is joined by Steve Nelson on vibraphone, Hilliard Greene and Jeff Littleton on bass, and Chuck McPherson and Tony Austin on drums.
“Out Door Valley” is a Janzon original with an interesting harmonic progression and flowing melody. His guitar tone is a solid jazz box sound. Nelson and Janzon have good chemistry while playing parts of the melody together. Nelson’s solo is a beautiful build of melodic ideas through the harmony. Greene’s bass is rich and woody. Yet, the drum tones on “Out Door Valley” come across as slightly too bright and lack the depth I typically prefer.
Janzon’s bop chops are on full display in the snappy medley of “Subconscious-Lee/Hot House,” while his nimble fingerwork also shines in “Ascending.” Janzon’s jazz language certainly has fluid lines of be-bop-styled chromaticism and target chord tones. He still manages to pull in a modern sound with pentatonic and intervallic patterns. Nelson’s vibes solo is outstanding.
Nomadic doesn’t clamor for attention with ostentatious fanfare; instead, it gently beckons the listener into its melodic embrace. It’s an album that encourages you to unwind, settle into a comfortable rhythm, and immerse yourself in its musical narrative. It’s the ideal companion for those tranquil moments when the world slows down, the lights dim, and tranquility takes center stage.
The album’s artwork, designed by Christopher Drukker, and the photos by Tomas Janzon & Janice Johnson, and Eva Ekelöf (cover) add a visual dimension to the musical journey, making Nomadic an enjoyable sensory experience.
Wrapping up, Nomadic is another significant milestone in Janzon’s musical voyage. His knack for crafting engaging, musically intelligent, and creative compositions form the heart of this collection. While the drum tones, particularly in the toms, could benefit from a richer resonance, this minor detail does not detract from the overall quality of the album. Nomadic is an auditory experience that warrants attentive listening, appreciation and repeated savoring. It is a journey that shows Janzon’s evolving artistry and is well worth embarking on and getting to know.