Jonas Hellborg Biography

1958, Gothenburg, Sweden. Classically trained as a bass player, Hellborg also listened to contemporary rock and pop and as a teenager was turned towards jazz through hearing albums by John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra. He soon began moving more deeply into jazz during the 70s. In particular he was fascinated by the free jazz phenomenon while at the same time he explored many ethnic musical forms, especially those of the Indian sub-continent. In 1981, he played with Michael Brecker at the Montreux International Jazz Festival. The following year he worked on a recording project with percussionist Reebop Kwaku Baah, although Hellborg had to finish the album on his own following Baah’s untimely death. He also formed his own record label, Day Eight Music, to allow performers ‘total liberty in music creation’. The label’s first release was Hellborg’s solo debut, The Bassic Thing.

In 1983, Hellborg joined McLaughlin’s new Mahavishnu Orchestra and two years later began playing duo concerts with the great guitarist. He parted ways with McLaughlin in 1988, relocating to New York and forming his own trio with keyboard player Aydin Esen and drummer Kenwood Dennard. Among kindred spirits with whom he has subsequently played and recorded, sometimes producing them on DEM Records and others, are Jeff Sipe, Bill Laswell (with whom he set up Greenpoint Studio), Ginger Baker, PiL, Shawn Lane, Buckethead and Michael Shrieve. In addition to leading small groups, Hellborg has recorded several solo albums, many of which feature his unique Wechter acoustic bass guitar.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.