New article by Fradley Garner in Jersey Jazz magazine, Oct. 2017:

COAST TO COAST TO COAST is my favorite album by the Harlem- based Swedish guitarist and composer, Tomas Janzon. (Changes Music, Los Angeles, 2006). Recorded in New York, Stockholm and Los Angeles, Janzon plays his 10 short original works in trio settings, backed by changing sidemen, including drummers Ben Dixon, Tony Austin, and bassists Jeff Littleton and Ken Filiano. Recent years in Manhattan have seen him often with bassist Essiet Essiet and drummer Chuck McPherson. This trio toured Austria, Germany, Norway and Sweden in April, including gigs at the Porgy and Bess Café in Vienna and Café Museum in Passau, Germany. "I look forward to start recording my next album in October," Tomas emails. "The working title is 130th and Lenox, a musical reflection on where I live in New York." July and August found Tomas mostly on his own in Sweden, "playing my program 'From Bach to Jazz' for classical guitar." Tomas's trio later performed at the Kalott Jazz and Blues Festival in Haparanda, in the far north of Sweden. By late August, he was back in New York, "teaching at the Crestwood Music Center and playing local gigs." Time off? Not much for this musician. Janzon flew back to his homeland and, with bassist Nedra Wheeler and drummer Will Terrill, are featured at the Stockholm Jazz Festival, October 6-15. And then they'll tour again in Sweden.
"I am following up directly on my own, touring and networking in Latvia and Estonia. It will be especially interesting to work and connect with local musicians over there. Some of them I've already met at the Jazzahead conference in Bremen, and some are new contacts. I have two concerts in Riga and one in Tallin booked so far." Obviously, Tomas Janzon is his own booking agent. "This tour will include clinics/workshops and these will add more content to my new book on improvisation, to be published early next year. Working title same as my new CD: 130th and Lenox, a tribute to my home in New York and the world beyond." The musician's websites offer links to articles in top jazz trade magazines and video links.
-Fradley Garner, Jersey Jazz, Oct 2017.

Jazz Times Magazine:

On Experiences, Stockholm-born, New York-based guitarist Tomas Janzon plays tasty renditions of jazz standards with drummer Albert “Tootie” Heath, bassist Jeff Littleton and pianist Art Hillery. He stakes out some original territory with unaccompanied guitar intro to “Here’s That Rainy Day,” then plays smooth, Wes-like octaves on the poignant Jimmy Van Heusen number. Janzon acquits himself with warm-toned swing on Montgomery’s “Full House” and Charlie Parker’s “Billie’s Bounce,” then digs into Bobby Timmons “Moanin” and Jimmy Smith’s “Messin’ Around” with soulful authority. He also offers graceful solo renditions of two Swedish folk songs.

Bill Milkowski, Jazz Times Dec. 2010.

LiRA music magazine:
Den New York-baserade gitarristen Tomas Janzon håller sig inom jazzmodernismens tydligt definerade ramar på Experiences. Han spelar i traditionen från de stora swing- och bebopgitarristerna. Tillsammans med trummisen Albert "Tootie" Heath, basisten Jeff Littleton och Art Hillery på piano och orgel skapar han avspänd och kristallklart svängande musik, vars mjuka gung försänker lyssnaren i behagfull njutning men som därför också kan bli förledande. Musiken är motståndslös, men det behagfulla blir aldrig behagsjukt.
Därtill är improvisationerna alltför fokuserade, samspelet alltför tätt och den rytmiska energin alltför påtaglig. Tomas Janzon har ett mjukt anslag, en krispig ton och jag njuter av att dras in i hans melodiska flöde och läckra skalklättringar. Skivan rymmer klassiker både från swingen, bebop och hardbop, men även originalmaterial och ett par vackra improvisationer kring En dejlig rosa. Det är ypperlig musik.

Magnus Eriksson, Lira, 2011.


Tomas Janzon  

(Changes Music)
  Experience is the byword on this latest release from guitarist Tomas Janzon, as his quartet recalls great guitar/organ combos from jazz's recent history as well as the guitarist-as-leader approach so effective for interpreting favorite songs. His 1959 Gibson L7 arch top guitar provides a comfortable texture as he improvises over familiar themes such as "Here's That Rainy Day," "Billie's Bounce" and Moanin'." Blues and a love for melodic emphasis take over and Janzon makes this session come alive.
  Art Hillery and Albert "Tootie" Heath provide elder veteran structure to the meeting, respectively, as the pianist/organist and drummer move things along seamlessly. Bassist Jeff Littleton doubles on rhythm and melodic soloing as he complements the unit with a smooth aura. With Janzon's velvet-like textures floating as if on water, the quartet's music moves with soul. In fact, one original song on the program, "Float," arose from that very idea; go with the flow and allow the music to react naturally.
  Elsewhere, the guitarist and his crew interpret "Polka Dots and Moonbeams" with dancelike maneuvers, Wes Mongomery's "Full House" with the coolness of a James Bond action star, Jimmy Smith's "Messin' Around" with a strut and ramble, and they call up the blues through their interpretation of "Moanin." Janzon moved to New York after 18 years of high visibility on the LA jazz scene, but he continues to carry the torch of great jazz wherever he goes. After all, that's where his heart lies.
-Jim Santella, LA Jazz Scene, October 2010.


Brick's Picks:

This Friday, April 3, is looking good, with a rare local appearance by Swedish guitarist Tomas Janzon and his excellent quartet (pianist Art Hillery, bassist Nedra Wheeler and drummer Donald Dean) at the Sheraton downtown, running from 6 to 9 pm. His playing is coolly European, with a wonderful sense of space, and we especially dig his Coast to Coast to Coast (and the rare Live in Stockholm too). 
-Brick Wahl,
LA Weekly, April 3-9, 2009.


JAZZIMPROV Magazine, Feb. 2008, Vol. 7, no 4.

All compositions in Coast to Coast to Coast are by Tomas Janzon, composer and guitarist extraordinaire! On this project he covers the moods and modalities of not just the three coasts of the United States...qualifying him as an transcontinental guitarist...he enlivens his ideas and his playing with global sensibility and intensity. Insofar as this is so, one needn’t worry about the typologies and genres of the ten tunes recorded here. Janzon, in short, contains multitudes in conception and execution of his music.

Whether viewed as jazz, fusion or "world" music, here are some transcendent tunes: for the here and now, the where and when, the then and there, the inside and outside. The presence of Birger Thorelli’s marimba adds to the beyond-bonds nature of most of the tunes, plus, of course, the rather "wet" tones of Janzon’s guitar with just the right smidgen of reverb and distortion, treble and bass.

Modality changes into swing and back again, as in, especially "Wescology" where the strains of the inimitable Wes Montgomery take over from likes of Abercrombie and Scofield. In this track Janzon's way with effects and looping reinforce the textures present in the tune, whether through allusion to another artist or line.

"Diminued," far from diminishing anything, other than a scale or two, continues the tradition of fine guitar and piano collaboration, with Janzon soloing or comping his way in and out of unison and into and beyond the vibrations and tensions of tremolo. "Four AM" evidences a shift in guitar from steel string to nylon with a mood shift in keeping with the late-night/early-morning rhythms of that ambiguous time. Here too the ending of the song affords an ideal cap to the mellifluous proceedings.

In "Urgencity," "Sanding," and "The Hearness," Janzon displays his adroit adaptation of scales and chromaticism to lyricism. At once similar-sounding and unique, each of these tunes (and the entire CD) never lapses into redundancy, each offering a fresh start, a deft progression thorough the various realms and capabilities af the guitar always eschewing pure guitaristics for their own sake. The music not the instrument remains the end.

The "Blue Jay" is a memorable example of melody - dramatizing the egalitarian nature of "birdness," be it squawker or crooner, proving yet again the role of bard as bird. "The Day Before" is a bluesy version in more upbeat reverse, presumably, of the morning after. "A Week from Now" slows things down considerably and the CD ends on a more contemplative, melancholy mood with none of the anxious urgency of "Urgencity."

Jim Hall, who knows as much about the guitar as anyone, is known for the thought he gives to any set or play list, knowing that sequence and theme also communicate a message. So it is too with Janzon who not only composed the tunes here but also composes the total experience of the CD. Just the right progression of themes and tempos, just the right variety of long running times with short, just the right instrumentation for any given tune, hitting, as the CD title metaphorically suggests, all the points of the compass, all the coasts and all the landforms between. It’s a tour designed for listening and savoring. If only all such recording projects were so considerate, so admirable.

-Bob Gish
Jazzimprov Magazine, Feb. 2008, Vol. 7, no 4.

JazzTimes, America's Jazz Magazine
Undertones from the March 2007 issue

Coast to Coast to Coast (Changes Music)

Each of the three sessions that comprise Coast to Coast to Coast place guitarist Tomas Janzon in a distinct setting, but all are unified by a crispness and intimacy that highlights Janzon’s cool, subtle
style. An urban nighttime vibe pervades four trio cuts: drummer Ben Dixon and bassist Ken Filiano are in complete agreement. Birger Thorelli’s sneaky marimba playing highlights a quartet date full of
clever eccentricity. Rounding out the disc, William Henderson brings tasteful piano accents to three lightly swinging tracks. The tunes are all short and to the point, idiosyncratic but approachable and engaging.

-Forrest Dylan Bryant
JazzTimes Magazine - March 2007

Coast to Coast to Coast
- LA Jazz Scene

With a program of 10 new and original compositions, guitarist Tomas Janzon turns up the flame of jazz’s modern mainstream through his latest album of adventurous music. Featuring his L.A. band as well as groups in New York and Stockholm, he romps through an affair that pushes the guitar in a vibrant direction. On a Wes Montgomery-inspired number, he swings happily in a grove collective that holds true to form. Like Montgomery, the guitarist attains a fluid texture that settles in comfortably with attention-grabbing results.

While Janzon’s lyrical guitar remains the album’s focus, his three bands add variety. With bassist Ken Filiano and drummer Ben Dixon in New York, we get a combination of the raw urban scene and the heartfelt soul behind it, as Janzon’s guitar tells stories that linger. In Sweden with Birger Thorelli on marimba, Lars Ekman on bass and Ali Djeridi on drums, the guitarist explores a laid back approach that agrees with his velvet melodies. In L.A. with pianist William Henderson, bassist Jeff Littleton and drummer Tony Austin, Janzon reaches out for new and different ways to improvise on a theme. Each of the double bassists contributes a pure sound on these sessions, while Janzon’s drummers shade eloquently. His guitar expresses with a vocal-like lyricism that weaves through the album like golden threads. Whether in Los Angeles, New York or Stockholm, Janzon continues to provide a new and creative voice on the horizon for today’s generation of jazz lovers.

- Jim Santella
L.A. Jazz Scene, January 2007.
Issue No. 232

Dagens Nyheter, 2007.

Tomas Janzon: "Coast to Coast to Coast" (Changes Music/CDA)
hjärta = redaktionens älskling

Tomas Janzon är en svensk gitarrist bosatt i Los Angeles. Här spelar han med sin grupp därifrån, liksom med musiker baserade i New York och Stockholm. Det är modern mainstreamjazz utan onödiga krusiduller men med nerv, närvaro och tyngd.

Janzons egen spelstil är avspänd och blåtonad; han sysslar inte med tekniska uppvisningar utan spelar för låt och stämning. Av de tre olika kompgrupperna som figurerar på skivan är alltså en svensk, med Lars Ekman på bas, Ali Djeridi på trummor och Birger Thorelli på marimba. De amerikanska musikerna är okända för mig, men inte minst bandet från Los Angeles passar Janzon som hand i handske. Själv har jag aldrig varit på amerikanska västkusten, men den här skivan håller mina romantiska föreställningar vid liv.

-Johannes Cornell
DN, Publicerad 14 mars 2007.


Coast to Coast to Coast
- All About Jazz

Guitarist Tomas Janzon has put together a selection of cleverly concise originals within the context of a spacious and airy trio/quartet format for his latest Coast to Coast to Coast. The trio consisting of Janzon, bassist Ken FIliano and drummer Ben Dixon provides well developed interplay. Janzon's dry tone on the electric guitar mixes well with Dixon's brushwork on the bluesy "Sanding." Likewise, his acoustic picking on "Four AM" is reflective and pensive. William Henderson's piano and Birger Thorelli's marimba add an extra dimension on the quartet pieces. The marimba/guitar unison lines on "The Croak" are quite infectious, reminiscent of the classic work of Charles Mingus, Tal Farlow and Red Norvo. The boppish "The Day Before" and "Urgencity" feature concise interplay between Henderson's piano and Janzon's guitar. Never overpowering, Janzon's bands impress you with their low key precision and clever use of space and tone. Janzon has his own sound on guitar, and uses it well in this well framed setting that should excite listeners
from coast to coast to coast.

- George Harris
All About Jazz - Los Angeles
December, 2006.

Tomas Janzon in Sweden 2005

..Evocative and extremely competent. Classicaly trained Janzon often uses his fingers for plucking the notes, creating a softer sound. He paints with sonorous colors, free from clichées, with both back-beat and Bach-beat sometimes, using an extremely nuanced chordal approach.

- Bengt Öster, TTELA (Trollhättan, Vänersborg) March 23, 2005.

.....Suggestivt och oerhört kompetent. Klassiskt skolade Janzon använder högerhandens fingrar flitigt vilket ger ett softare sound. Han målar med klangrika färger, fria från klichéer, med både baktakt och Bach- takt emellanåt och oerhört nyanserat ackord-spel.

- Bengt Öster, TTELA (Trollhättan, Vänersborg) 23/3-05.

Tomas Janzon at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
November 26, 2004

Guitarist Tomas Janzon brought his original spirit to LACMA with splendid results. In three powerful sets, he reflected blues-laden memories of Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt, as well as the fire and complexity found in the work of the Dave Brubeck Quartet. Fresh originals and standards such as “Moanin',” “All the Things You Are,” “Here's That Rainy Day,” and “Have You Met Miss Jones” were interpreted with authority. Janzon gave each selection a varied appearance, as his guitar wove intricate melodic patterns through the fabric of familiar song. His fluid lines produced thrilling results and meshed with his musical collaborators effectively.

–Jim Santella
All About Jazz
Published Dec. 21, 2004.

Translated review from Norbottenskuriren 12 nov. 2004:

Grooving Hardbop in Piteå

...Much of Tomas Janzon's music relates back to hardbop, the soul influenced style of jazz, connected with Art Blakey and also Cannonball Adderley, in terms of guitar playing Wes Montgomery. Tomas Janzon's tough, clear and inventive style with small ornaments sprinkled here and there was matched with Martin Sjöstedt's extraordinary and pulsating bass playing and Ali Djeridi's driving and energizing drumming. Following the track laid out by the message music of the engaged sixties. One could hear several examples like Bobby Timmon's "Moanin'", but also Janzon's original compositions as Space Mail. Ther was also room for a few jazz standards like "Here's That Rainy Day" and "All The Things You Are".

"Invitation", in a intense tempo, became one of the high-lights together with Wes Montgomery's "Fried Pies" played with a grooving swing.

-Gunnar Lindgren, Norrbottens-kuriren, 12 nov. 2004.

Pulserande hardbop i Piteå

Tomas Janzon Trio med Ali Djeridi-trumset, Martin Sjöstedt-kontrabas.

Mycket i Tomas Janzons musik går tillbaka till hardbop, den soulpräglade jazzmusik som förknippas med Art Blakey och hans Jazz Messengers och även med namn som Cannonball Adderley och när det gäller gitarrspel Wes Montgomery.

Tomas Janzons tuffa, klara spelstil, fyndig med små ornament inströdda här och var, matchades av Martin Sjöstedts fenomenala, kraftfullt pulserande basspel och Ali Djeridis påskjutande, pockande trumspel, helt i linje med 60-talets engagerade budskapsmusik.

En rad exempel på tidens musik spelades också, Bobby Timmons Moaning till exempel, men också en del eget material av Tomas Janzon som inledande Space Mail. Några standardmelodier fick också plats, Here’s That Rainy Day och All The Things You Are. Invitation blev en av höjdpunkterna i ett intensivt tempo, tillsammans med Wes Montgomerys Fried Pies, som istället spelades med härligt gungande studs.

-Gunnar Lindgren, Norrbottens-kuriren, 12 nov. 2004
(reprinted without permission)..

Tomas Janzon at The Westin Los Angeles
by Leroy Downs on August 26, 2004

The chords played on the guitar are so sweet! Tonight, it’s a quartet but, since the bass player is on the way, the Trio kicked off the set. Tomas Janzon, Art Hillary and Frank Wilson opened the set at the Westin with beautiful melodies as intimate and wonderful as can be played in a lobby full of people. The Trio was so tight that I don’t think that the crowd noticed that there was suppose to be a fourth.

Standing up grooving or sitting down to comp or play all of these great harmonies, Tomas Janzon was right on time. He has been traveling recently and just got back from Stockholm and New York City to land right here for his second engagement here at the LAX Westin. Regular fans of Tomas were in the audience and they were happy to hear him perform!

Check his website for the next upcoming gig!

-LeRoy Downs

Los Angeles City Beat, October 16-22, 2003. Vol 1, No 19.

Jazz Critic's Choice: Tomas Janzon Trio

Ever since Dizzy took his band to Stockholm in 1947 and Chubby Jackson went there in '49 with his great quintet, the Swedes have been jazz-mad. (They still talk about Charlie Parker's '51 tour of Sweden over there.) Miles took a Swedish folk line, bebopped it, and titled it "Dear Old Stockholm," adding to the jazz repertory. Guitarist Tomas Janzon played Bach fugues on the cello in his native Stockholm, but he always improvised in his head. The first blues he heard was Charlie Parker's "Cool Blues" (cut in L.A.), and it connected with the melancholy and minor tonalities Janzon heard in Swedish music. He switched to guitar and came to L.A. in '91. His playing has the prolific, fleet inspiration found in Swedish folk fiddling as well as the minor-chord reflections. L.A. has allowed him to explore rhythm in a deep way, and his trio with swinging bassist Nedra Wheeler and equally funky drummer Frank Wilson has extended that aspect of his playing. They'll do two afternoon sets as part of downtown's American-Scandinavian Fall Festival.

-Kirk Silsbee
(reprinted without permission).

Eleganternas Trollspö

Jazz i Svaben Festival 23 Aug. 2003

..så är amerikasvensken och mainstream-gitarristen Tomas Janzons kvartett en rätt

stor segelbåt med mycket vit segelyta som glider fram på ett lätt krusat och solglittrande jazz-bossa-hav. Och farkosten håller hyfsad fart. Det blåser till och man hisnar lite emellanåt, men det blir definitivt aldrig farligt. I besättningen sitter en namnkunnig och trygg skara musiker och borgar för kvalitén och tryggheten; Berndt Egerbladh på piano, Hasse Larsson på bas och förra årets Christer Boustedt-stipendiat Gilbert Matthews bakom det gula trumsetet.

Tomas Janzon kommer till Sverige några gånger om året och gör konserter i lite olika konstellationer. Hans ton är mjuk och säker och leder kvartetten iväg på utflykter mot visjazzens ängder med Jag vet en dejlig rosa. Janzon tar också en solosväng som är så vacker att till och med lite sol blänker till i lokalen -vilket i sin tur får pianist Egerbladh att glimta till också.

Det är eleganternas högtidsstund. De gör några sirliga figurer med sina trollspön och ur jazzhatten trollar de fram en på alla sätt stilig och välgödd kanin med skinande blank päls.

-Anders Jansson, Ljusnan, 25 Aug. 2003.
(reprinted without permission).

Live In Stockholm

From January 2003

Tomas Janzon Quartet | Changes Music

This brief session (18:22) was recorded for Swedish radio last year. It represents part of a concert that Sveriges Radio P2 broadcast live from the Jazzclub Fasching in Stockholm. To experience tracks from guitarist Tomas Janzon’s full-length album, visit

Live In Stockholm offers an adventurous Wes Montgomery style affair with quartet. Straight-ahead jazz fans within the radio station’s broadcasting radius can consider themselves fortunate to be able to enjoy this session. Janzon emphasizes the acoustic sounds from his instrument. “Six on Five” blends meters of six and five in an up-tempo romp with plenty of stretching from guitar, piano, and bass. Janzon and pianist Bobo Stenson share an appreciation for exciting improvised counterpoint. Montgomery’s “Full House” waltzes appropriately at a moderate tempo to infuse more effervescent action. Guitar and piano interact with bass and drums to stir things up. Janzon coolly weaves his melody around the trio’s action to interpret timeless music.

Originally from the Stockholm area, Janzon moved to the U.S. and continued his study of the guitar at both the Guitar Institute in Los Angeles and the University of Southern California. His master’s degree in classical guitar offers proof that Janzon has the right tools. And his recordings offer proof that the guitarist’s swinging jazz style comes straight from the heart.

~ Jim Santella
(reprinted without permission).

Enkelt och svårt

OJ Orkesterjournalen nr 1, 2003.

Tomas Janzon, Jazzclub Fasching, Stockholm, 19 november 2002: Janzon g, Bobo Stenson p, Christina Spering b, Petur “Island” Östlund dr.

Den till Los Angeles utflyttade gitarristen Tomas Janzon har återvänt allt oftare till sitt hemland och framträtt med tillfälliga grupper. 2001 hördes han på Skeppsholmfestivalen och Glenn Miller Café med musiker från USA och Sverige. Sommaren 2002 besökte han Borgen på Gärdet i Stockholm. Det aktuella framträdandet på Fasching föregicks av två musikerbyten. Trumslagaren Gilbert Matthews åkte till Paris för att spela med Benny Golson och i sista stund blev basisten Palle Danielsson sjuk.

Gruppens repertoar var till stor del skriven av Janzon. Han hade inte gjort de lättaste arrangemangen. Det bläddrades flitigt i notpappren. Moanin’ av Bobby Timmons togs i ovanligt högt tempo, melodins karaktär ändrades radikalt. Wes Montgomerys Full House togs i en mer lagom fart som passade gruppen mycket bra. Autumn Leaves blev ett lyriskt extranummer.

Janzon spelade melodiskt och njutbart, och briljerade inte alls med sin tekniska skicklighet. Han ackompanjerade när Bobo Stenson och Christian Spering var solister. Stenson förenklade sitt spel, särskilt i bluesnummer, och agerade kraftfullt och mycket övertygande.

-Sven Boija,
(reprinted without permission).

Fylligt och originellt i Väddö kyrka

Tomas Janzon, med släkt i Norrtälje, numera boende i Los Angeles, USA, sedan 1991, är hemma och gästspelar, och på onsdagskvällen uppträdde han med sin trio i Väddö kyrka.

"Längtan kan ibland bli nästan religiöst stark efter den svenska sommaren" berättar han, och just då bryter solen in genom Väddökyrkans vackra välvda fönster och lyser upp altarrundeln.

Tomas inleder ensam konserten på sin spanska gitarr med några klassiska stycken av bl.a. Tarrega, den spanska gitarrens fader, för att därefter gå över till lite mer jazzbetonat och avsluta med några klassiska svenska folkvisor, bland andra "Kristallen den fina" och "Visa vid

Jag frapperas genast av hur väl den ensamma akustiska gitarren når ut till oss i kyrkan, och med vilken självklar auktoritet hans fingrar löper över strängarna och väver in melodierna i fylliga, originella ackord.

Nu är det dags för resten av trion att presentera sig, med Ali Djeridi på trumset och Marcus Wikström på kontrabas. En mycket vacker tolkning av den gamla folkvisan "Jag vet en dejlig rosa" blir resultatet.Trion fortsätter med örhängen som "Att angöra en brygga" och "Båtlåt". Därefter är det dags för en presentation av Tomas många egna kompositioner. "Twentyseven Years". En låt komponerad till Nelson Mandelas ära.

Mandela satt just i 27 år i fängelse i Sydafrika innan han blev dess ledare. Ett livsöde som gjort intryck på också på Tomas Janzon. Ett underbart och finstämt stycke, sammanhållet av Tomas virtuosa gitarrspel. Den utgör också den sista låten för denna kväll, kallad "Från Tarrega till Hårga", men publiken vill höra mer. Efter någon minut beslutar sig Tomas för att det får bli en jazzstandard. "Autumn Leaves".

Den är vacker! Förhoppningsvis är det ett tag till hösten, tänker jag, när jag går ut i sommarkvällen.

-Gösta Colliander, Norrtelje Tidning, 26 Juli, 2002
(reprinted without permission).

Uppsala Nya Tidning, April 2002

Tomas Janzon är tillbaka i hemlandet för några workshops (bl a i Uppsala 9 april) och släpper sitt album X-Changes från 1999. Janzon är en fingerfärdig musikant som spelar i den traditionella skolan.

-Björn G Stenberg
(reprinted without permission).

Lucy Florence, Sunday Nights

This Side of The Midnight Sun

Swedish-born guitarist Tomas Janzon moved to L.A. 10 years ago from Stockholm because he wanted to come to the sources of the music he loves, jazz. "It truly is an American art form - Europeans can do it well, but it's just not quite the same," he told me in a recent interview. Well, Janzon should consider himself Americanized - he is a marvel of the fretboard, conjuring up images of Wes and Django in his straightahead stylings. He is currently in the midst of an open-ended Sunday night residency at Lucy Florence, a funky little club down in Leimert Park across from Billy Higgins' World Stage. In addition, he has excellent taste in sidepeople - the rest of his trio is made up of bassist Nedra Wheeler and drummer Frank Wilson. For some of the tastiest guitar playing this side of the Midnight Sun, go check out this fine trio.

Paul Andersen
(reprinted without permission).

Entertainment Today May 25-31,2001.

From Jazz Improv vol 3, no 1., (Jan.2001)

"A Real Jazz Players 's Album"

The first cut, called "Space Mail," tells us we have an intelligent player on our hands. The intervallic approach to this Janzon original sounds like "Pat Metheny meets Larry Coryell" - not necessarily the guitar sound, but the way the interplay among the ensemble enhances the playing techninque. The second cut continues this interesting sound texture with a tune that I would have mistaken for a standard or even another Metheny song. This Latin percussive texture works well with drummer Sherman Ferguson on brushes and the acoustic bass playing of Nedra Wheeler.

"The Blue Frog" opens with a tenor sax and guitar melody that smoothly works into Janzon's bluesy, over-the-top groove. I like the way that Janzon's second guitar appears to be part of the original section. The solo bass works well on this.

The Victor Youg tune, "Beautiful Love," shows that Janzon has the skill to arrange. He takes this and weaves a subtle counter melody along with the original before moving into the solos on the chord changes. The rhythm section shines by maintaining the strong backing needed to allow the guitar its own exploration. You can hear the vocal "groaning" on this one.

"Six on Five" sets a nice pace with the bass line over which Janzon gets into the feel once again and offers an interesting Scofield-like twist on melodies with the comping. Drums and bass are locked in tightly with a nice percussion fade at the end. "Catch'er" gets even more "funky" with a rhythm groove that grabs the tenor sax playing of Louis Taylor. The guitar becomes more blues oriented slightly hints of the R&B groove at times. This is a jam piece for live performance where everyone can stretch.

Cut seven, "Archipelago Away," returns to the more elusive melody and mood setting of the Metheny and Frisell compositions of late. "Fe-Fi-Fo-Fum" is a Wayne Shorter tune that begins with a solo guitar introduction that adds the bass backing of Nedra Wheeler with interspersed percussion by Sherman Ferguson. The playing at times reminds me of Joe Pass, had Joe ever played the equipment that Janzon does. The sound is very close. I wish the playing of Nedra Wheeler was higher in the mix. This is a solid bassist in the jazz tradition of upright playing.

The CD ends with a 54 second taste of Sonny Rollins' tune (arranged by Janzon) called "No Moe." This is a real jazz player's album. I only wish there was more!

-Don Price
(reprinted without permission).

From Cadence Magazine,
July 2000

Janzon is a guitarist of obvious merit. His work on X-Changes uncovers a musician with an abiding love and appreciation for the variety of tonalities available to his instrument with the aid of amplification. Most of the tracks feature his working trio, with three cuts adding Taylor and another substituting the legendary Higgins for Ferguson in the drum seat. Though his lines are often heavily amplified, Janzon?s fretwork remains surprisingly agile and crisp. Recognizing their rhythmic responsibilities, Wheeler and Ferguson often adhere to a supportive role. Their concessions allow Janzon the room to move around and he takes full advantage, crafting thoughtful solos without ever sounding domineering. The tunes with Taylor sharing the frontline necessarily work off a slightly different dynamic and a funkier bent, but are no less stimulating. Adding a great deal to the disc?s successful deployment of tunes is the breathtaking clarity of the recording. This disc is easily recommended to listeners with a taste for mainstream Jazz guitar that retains and rejoices in a creative edge.

-Derek Taylor
(reprinted without permission).

Jazz Facts 2000

STIM-Svensk Musik

Tomas Janzon lever och verkar sedan ett antal år i Los Angeles, Kalifornien, USA. Där har denne gitarrist en kvartett med trumslagaren Sherman Ferguson, basisten Nedra Wheeler och saxofonisten Louis Taylor. Men han spelar också regelbundet med namn som Billy Higgins och Alphonso Johnson.

I botten är Tomas Janzon en klassiskt skolad gitarrist. Han gick på Musikhögskolan i Stockholm, Sverige, innan han hamnade på The Guitar Institute och USC Thornton School of Music - och blev kvar.

Den bakgrunden kanske förklarar hans utomordentliga teknik, men de friska och varierade idéer som genomsyrar "X-Changes" har sina rötter i honom själv. Hör bara på den rytmiskt trixiga "Six on Five", den bluesigt raksvängande "Catch´er" eller den stämningsmättade "Archipelago Away"!

Det är ett vidsträckt spann som visar på det ytterst flexibla samspelet i Tomas Janzons kvartett, en kvartett han självklart dominerar utan att dominera. Även det en balansakt som kräver sin mästare.

Tillsammans påminner de dig om att jazz fortfarande verkligen kan vara cool och underhållande.

Johan Scherwin
(reprinted without permission).

Jönköpings - Posten - 2 juni, 2000.

Gitarristen Tomas Janzon stack till Kalifornien, och blev kvar. Tillsammans med riktigt tunga namn har han gjort sin första cd.

Det är mest trio som gäller. Trumslagaren Sherman Ferguson har tidigare jobbat med Kenny Burrell, Eddie harris och Pharao Sanders. På bas finner vi Nedra Wheeler som också tillhör eliten.

Det är en ren och avspänd stil vi bjuds på den här skivan med mycket luftiga gitarrackord. Tomas står för samtliga kompositioner som ibland kan ha lite intrikata rytmer men hela tiden står med bägge fötterna på jorden.

-Bo Levander
(reprinted without permission).


February 2000

Originally from Sweden, mainstream jazz guitarist Tomas Janzon has settled in Los Angeles where he performs with the trio heard on his session. Highly recommended, the album and Janzon?s bio information may be found at his web site:

Janzon has written tunes for this project that allow the trio to run cool and seamless. Like "The Pink Panther," Janzon?s "The Blue Frog" leaps forth with an attitude, as both guitar and tenor saxophone stretch out beyond the theme. The influence of contemporary straight-ahead guitarist Bill Frisell can be heard elsewhere, especially on the pensive "Archipelago Away," whose loose appearance is packed tight with ideas. The support Janzon gets from his band mates makes quite a difference, particularly from drummers Sherman Ferguson and Billy Higgins. Whether trading fours with Higgins on "Beautiful Love" or turning Ferguson loose on "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum," the leader creates an atmosphere where everyone comes together and turns out an excellent session.

Track Listing: Space Mail; 27 Years; The Blue Frog; Beautiful Love; Six on Five; Catch?er; Archipelago Away; Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum; No Moe.

Personnel: Tomas Janzon- guitar; Nedra Wheeler- bass; Sherman Ferguson- drums; Louis Taylor- tenor saxophone on "The Blue Frog," "Catch?er" and "No More;" Billy Higgins- drums on "Beautiful Love."

(reprinted without permission).

Svenskt från L.A.

OJ Orkester Journalen nr 5, 2000 z, nr 5 April 2000. (sid. 37//)

Tomas Janzon
bildtext: Janzon - en melodiker

Gitarristen Tomas Janzon har i Sverige samarbetat med bland andra Berit Andersson, Bronislaw Suchanek och Anita Strandell. Han har även gjort musik för film och TV. Sedan nio år är han bosatt i Los Angeles där han har startat skivutgivning: här är den första cd:n med hans egen samspelta grupp. Trumslagaren Billy Higgins gästar i Beautiful Love. Janzon spelar melodin med fylliga och originella ackord, rytmen blir allt intensivare i hans solo.

Albumet är helt centrerat kring Janzon. Han dominerar melodipresentationerna och tar hand om mesta solistutrymmet. Inspirationskällor tycks ha varit Wes Montgomery och dennes samtida. Några spår av gitarrspelets klangmässiga utveckling under senare årtionden märks inte. I alla lägen ser han till att musiken svänger maximalt. Tenoristen Louis Taylor hörs endast i tre nummer och då mycket diskret i ensemblen. Basisten Nedra Wheeler kompar stadigt och effektivt, och är även hörvärd solist. Kompet är följsamt och understödjande; alla initiativ tycks komma från Janzon. Alla nummer utom tre är skrivna av honom, omväxlande och hörvärda. De två sista melodierna, av Wayne Shorter och Sonny Rollins, passar honom bra. Allt

som allt är detta förträfflig gitarrmusik med rötter i jazzens femtiotal.

Tomas Janzon kan nås per e-mail

Sven Boija
(reprinted without permission).

From LA Jazz Scene, LA's Only Jazz Paper

February 2000

Guitarist Tomas Janzon reminds us that Jazz is still cool and always enjoyable. Beside him on this recommended session are bassist Nedra Wheeler and drummer Sherman Ferguson.  Drummer Billy Higgins sits in for Victor Young's "Beautiful Love," while tenor saxophonist Lewis Taylor joins the trio on three others.  Born in Stockholm, Sweden and trained at the city's preeminent Royal School of Music, Janzon later landed in LA to study at both the Guitar Institute and USC. His master's degree in classical guitar may help explain the virtuosic technique, but only a natural desire could possibly explain the cool swing he brings to the microphone.

Fresh ideas such as Janzon's "Six on Five" give the session variety and added energy as Janzon's output offers faint reflections of such eclectic sources as Wes Montgomery, Joe Pass and Carlos Santana. Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" provides a natural scene wherein drummer Ferguson lays hands on drums for the kind of treat LA audiences have grown to expect. Sounds emanate from handclaps as well as facial claps that alter the tones; such is the support Ferguson offers. Janzon and Lewis Taylor weave a New Orleans shuffle into "Catch'er" for the album's high point as Ferguson and Nedra Wheeler create a colorful backdrop. The session smokes while keeping things nice and cool.

by Jim Santella
(reprinted without permission).

Los Angeles New Times, December 1999

Spiritual Jazz

Drummer Sherman Ferguson is one of the most versatile and well-rounded percussionists gigging in L.A., with vast experience behind him and the ability to bring something creative to every situation he plays in.

Recently, Ferguson's wife heard him with the Swedish guitarist Tomas Janzon and remarked: You play different with him than you do with other people." Janzon, an accomplished player with a lot of academic study under his belt, always looks for spiritual communication between musicians when he plays. Obviously, he has been most gratified by the recent musical imagination he found working with Ferguson and the groove-delicious bass techniques of Nedra Wheeler.

These three greats will share the bandstand for a brunch gig (noon to 3 p.m.) at Catalina's on Sunday. Janzon's engaging originals and inspired arrangements of outside material (Victor Young's "Beautiful Love" and Wayne Shorter's "Fee-Fi-Fo-Fum" among them) can be heard to excellent advantage on his latest CD, X-Changes.

by Kirk Silsbee
(reprinted without permission).


Artist in Residence, Nelson, B.C.

Intervju för Orkesterjournalen:
Från Harlem till Söder.
(In Swedish)

Writings by Tomas:

"Article for Fotnoten 2003 (in Swedish)"

"Article for Fotnoten 2004 (in Swedish)"

"Article for Fotnoten 2005 (in Swedish)"

Orkester Journalen (January 2002) - "Världens Största Jazzkonferens" (In Swedish)

Oberoende och överens - OJ nr. 7/8, 2006.