Jonas Hellborg: Black Rite
Jonas Hellborg (bass)
The Word (Axiom 162 539 898-2)
Soldier String Quartet: Laura Seaton, David Soldier (violins), Ron Lawrence (viola), Mary Wooten (cello).
Composed by Jonas Hellborg & Tony Williams.
Rating: 93/100 (learn more)
Bassist Jonas Hellborg says "Black Rite" was assembled in the studio. I take that to mean it was created on the spot or just before the performance. I am guessing the string parts were coordinated ahead of time or overdubbed later. But to listen to legendary drummer Tony Williams and Hellborg interact, even if overdubbed, is pure joy. "Black Rite" is a soundscape buttressed by Williams's marshalling rhythms. Williams and Hellborg are heard in the mix equally. Hellborg has always been about finding some subterranean groove and grinding it into the earth's molten core. The key to this duo was how Williams's own signature grooves would mesh with Hellborg's. Obviously there is an exciting rapport. On the other hand, the duo's intriguing accent playing, under the background strings, is enough to cajole you into formation as well. Hellborg plays several beautiful themes in unison with the Soldier String Quartet. The melodic pace remains mostly constant even as Williams plays double time. A burst of energy leads to a purposeful drum break that leads to the coda. "Black Rite" is an organic piece with its own pulse of aggression and restraint. It is a very moving creation.
Reviewer: Walter Kolosky