Music with the power to captivate, coupled with a touring schedule that spans Europe, the far east and some of the biggest festivals in the USA, is rapidly turning Swedish American composer and keyboard player Jonathan Fritzén into a truly global phenomenon. Now, his considerable worldwide audience seems certain to increase still further with the release of his latest CD, the appropriately titled ‘Magical’.
With featured performances from Boney James, Paul Brown, Jackiem Joyner, Darren Rahn, Malene Mortensen and Vincent Ingala, ‘Magical’ is Fritzén’s fourth solo project and follows the highly acclaimed ‘Diamonds’ which enabled him to reach #1 on both the Billboard airplay charts and the Amazon.com sales charts. In fact legendary broadcaster Art Good recently named Fritzén as his ‘debut artist of the year’ yet his first recording actually came in 2008 with the sumptuous ‘Love Birds’. It announced him as a performer of tremendous promise with every one of its eleven original compositions reaching to the very core of what great smooth jazz should be. Less than a year later Fritzén returned with the equally impressive ‘VIP’.
With ‘Magical’ his talents as a composer, producer and performer are again all brilliantly on display with a case in point being the easy grooving title track which finds Fritzén at his outstanding best and sublimely in tandem with sax-man Boney James who predictably leaves his mark all over this wonderful tune.
When Jackiem Joyner takes over on sax for the feel good flavor of ‘Love Will Overcome’ he assists Fritzén in checking every smooth jazz box imaginable while elsewhere the deliciously languid groove of ‘Sweet Spot’ owes much to the fabulous interplay between Fritzén and Paul Brown. Staying in mellow mode, the hugely cinematic ‘Angels’ proves just how effective Fritzén can be when shifting to a romantic vibe and this is also evident with the stunning ‘Nostalgia’. It combines elements of chill with a marvelous melody in a way that only he can and in similar vein is the extremely sensuous ‘Nordic Night’. When Fritzén calls on Darren Rahn (who also mixes the album) for the intensely poignant ‘Lullaby’ his contribution on sax serves as the perfect accompaniment to this heartfelt tune and with ‘Cant Get You Out Of My Mind’ it’s the vocals of Danish singing star Malene Mortenson that pave the way to more of Fritzén’s superb playing on keys.
In the final analysis Fritzén’s position as the master of delightfully accessible contemporary jazz is perfectly validated by the fabulous ‘Turn Back Time’ that has the same vibrant and catchy quality, which typifies much of his best work. Not only that, when the rapidly emerging Vincent Ingala becomes the fourth saxophonists to guest on ‘Magical’, his performance for ‘To The Top’ helps to create more of that delicious up-tempo energy and much the same can be said of the rhythmic splendor of the fabulous ‘Electric’ which is a smooth jazz classic in the making.
There is little doubt that fans and critics alike will salute this latest offering by the incomparable Jonathan Fritzén as being truly ‘Magical’.
Jonathan Fritzén was born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and an American father. He grew up in a musical family and as a young child started playing drums. He later added piano, bass, guitar, flute and vocals, whilst during his formal training at the Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm he became one of the first students to receive a Masters degree in jazz. By the age of 22 Jonathan had performed several times on national television and toured with some of Sweden’s most respected jazz musicians. When ‘Love Birds’ followed three years later it marked Fritzén out as the first keyboard player from that country to release a smooth jazz CD. The rest, as they say, is history and with ‘Magical’ he is all set to write a new chapter.