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Strandberg, Jan-Olof & Armand Sabal-Lecco Project: Live In Finland

The last few years I have become familiar with Finnish bassist extraordinaire Jan-Olof Strandberg through his work with The Strandberg Project. On his most recent album Live In Finland he teams with another excellent bassist, Cameroon borne Armand Sabal-Lecco who has worked with such luminaries as Ringo Starr, Peter Gabriel, Stanley Clarke, Paul Simon and Stewart Copeland to name but a few.

The album was recorded live at Sello Hall between April and November of 2014. Besides Strandberg and Sabal-Lecco the other musicians include Sami Virtanen (guitar, keyboards), Jukka Gustavson (Hammond organ, keyboards) and Jartsa Karvonen (drums).

"Welcome to the Show" opens the disc with moody blankets of keys overlaid with , you guessed it, bass guitar. The moodiness invokes images of Floyd until the rhythms start and stop as the duo incorporate little tidbits of experimentalism into their sound. The music is quite sparse at times making room for both bassists to show their considerable talents.

"Gizga" is a very rhythmic piece with a sort of primal African presence incorporating elements of funk, reggae and rock music. The bassists certainly play around with different sounds and textures which makes for some extraordinary grooves as both players are able to stretch their wings on the ten minute piece. Guitarist Sami Virtanen also shares the spotlight with a searing solo that adds a certain rock flavour.

On "Two Sisters Intro" atmospheric keyboards leave a subtle texture as the bassists provide some head shaking improvisations. There is a Middle Eastern feel and even a bit of Spanish flair, especially when the bass is used like a rhythm guitar. This leads directly into "Two Sisters" and its toe tapping rhythmic groove. As in many of these songs the keyboards are used in a subtle and non-forceful manner, just enough to get the listener's attention.

Two more epics appear; the African influenced funk of "Couscous Clan" where the Hammond and bass is ever so present and the intriguing "Tom's Nurses" with its psychedelic bass tone, raging Hammond and textural guitar rhythms. It's a trippy slice of jazz/funk/fusion all rolled into one mind-expanding jam session.

The last track "Behind the Curtains" is a moody and ambient flavoured piece that would almost fit on Pink Floyd's The Wall, at least alongside the mellower stuff. The excellent guitar work from Virtanen is another album highlight.

Live In Finland is an excellent disc with fantastic musicianship and great bass grooves. It also sounds great on my stereo. If you are a fan of the bass guitar this will be a must purchase. Released on Seacrest Oy Records.


Track Listing:
1. Welcome to the Show (4:10)
2. Gizga (10:11)
3. Two Sisters Intro (2:23)
4. Two Sisters (3:05)
5. Couscous Clan (12:18)
6. Dominique Intro (2:12)
7. Dominique (6:13)
8. Tom's Nurses (14:15)
9. Behind the Curtains Intro (1:53)
10. Behind the Curtains (6:10)

Added: October 4th 2015
Reviewer: Jon Neudorf
Score:
Related Link: Label's Official Site
Hits: 772
Language: english

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