Jens Johansson / Shawn Lane / Mike Stern

Fission

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Jens Johansson is joined by, jams with, and fuses expertly alongside his brother, drummer Anders along with guitar virtuosos Shawn Lane and Mike "Sterno" Stern on this release. Sounds too hot, too frenetic, too in your face jazz fusion? Not so. Jens structures it all just right. Let's say the backbeat funk keeps the fun upfront in this fusion fission fest. Out of nine tracks, Lane solos in a very Holdsworth-ian fashion, guesting only on tracks one and four. Stern plays his trademark Telecaster tone in an Is What It Is mode on track two, trades licks with Jens and Lane on track four, and on track six. This album's gestalt is Jens Johansson flat-out getting down, laying out the grooves, and racing with his brother Anders on drums. Jens provides multi-styled synth basslines like Jan Hammer did in his days with Jeff Beck. Anders tears it up on percussion like a monster rhythm dervish. Jens solos splendidly all over this structure, while guitarists Lane and Stern add the icing on the cake served hot outta Jens' oven. Fission is for folks who got into Jan Hammer's post-Mahavishnu Orchestra boogie-fuze-rock, dug early Chick Corea quirky change-ups and tempo, and enjoyed Adam Holzman's omnipresent synth-key grooves post-Miles Davis. You'll like the basic jazz fusion feel and the driving pulse in all the compositions. Jens spent years backing up neo-classical shredmaster Yngwie Malmsteen and playing in Dio. He deftly dances all the parts of keys, guitarist leads, and cookin' bass heartbeats and comes away leaving an interesting stamp on the listener. Recommended. [A Japanese version includes bonus tracks.]

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