Bassist Jonas Hellborg's restless muse has taken him many different places in his career: from a stint with the legendary Mahavishnu Orchestra to funky collaborations with keyboardist Bernie Worrell and bassist Bootsy Collins to a heightened interest in non-Western forms of music - especially those of Pakistan and West Africa. Lately though, Hellborg has found perhaps his most like-minded (not to mention musically astounding) set of collaborators: guitar phenom Shawn Lane and drummer Apt. Q-258 (a.k.a. Jeff Sipe), a lineup that debuted on 1996's Temporal Analogues of Paradise (Day Eight Music). With two live cuts clocking in at more than 25 minutes each, Temporal Analogues of Paradise not only highlighted the trio's incredible chops and telepathic interplay, but breathed life into a format long thought dead and gone - jazz-rock fusion.
Now, Bardo Records presents a remastered edition of this group's second release, Time is the Enemy. The lineup is the same: Hellborg, Lane and Q-258. And the six cuts are recorded live, just as on Temporal Analogues of Paradise, featuring more of Hellborg's driving, motivic bass, Lane's single-line pyrotechnics, and Q-258's protean drumming. Don't expect to hear "Temporal Analogues Volume 2," though. Hellborg and Co. have solidified their vision, producing an instrumental work that is even more cohesive and exciting.
But that doesn't mean that they've cut down on the jaw-dropping pyrotechnics. The tighter grooves and motifs have given these master improvisers more ideas to sink their teeth into. Especially the always-stunning Lane, who sent countless guitarists back to the woodshed with his hard-to-find solo debut "Powers Of Ten" (Warner Brothers, 1993). On "Barua a Soldani," for example, Hellborg opens with a neck-snapping bassline, Lane falls in with some ZZ Top-ish rock double-stops (perhaps hearkening back to his days with Black Oak Arkansas), and follows with a soaring central melody, then deconstructs it all with his Holdsworth-influenced sheets of sound, setting the stage for Hellborg's off-the hook thumb-slapped mania. Q-258 changes the scenery from funk rock to bebop with his sensitive cymbal work, which cajoles more brilliant flash from Lane, and then all segue into the title track, a classic dose of plasmatic modern fusion.
With Time is the Enemy this trio is serving notice: although it's light years ahead of the tepid pap passing for so called "contemporary" jazz these days, and even further out in front of a rock field that has less regard for instrumental skill than ever before, this brawny musical monster is still willing to push, explore and refine, giving hours of pleasure to those courageous enough to ride along with them.
TIME IS THE ENEMY
Jonas Hellborg - Bass Guitar
Shawn Lane - Electric Guitar
Apt. Q 258 - Drums
1 Heretics 9:13
2 Wherever You Walk 9:28
3 Space Time Continuum 9:42
4 The Kings Letter 6:31
5 Barua A Soldani 10:26
6 Time Is The Enemy 6:50
Recorded live at various sites, cities and continents during 1996
Mixed March '97 at Starec, Växjö, Sweden by Scud Noonan
Produced by Jonas Hellborg
Photos Albert Wiking
Art Direction Magnus Bergström, Lund Sweden