Born: November 17, 1985 Primary Instrument: Bass, electric
Johannes Zetterberg (a native of Stockholm, Sweden) was born on November 17, 1985. Growing up in a musical family, he was exposed to a lot of different music at an early age.
Well, being that my father's a countertenor with a soft spot for Oscar Peterson, I guess I quickly learned to appreciate classical music & jazz. On the other hand, there were groups & artists like Stevie Wonder, Earth, Wind & Fire, Michael Jackson, Toto, Chicago & lots of others, all of which I found on my mother's mixtapes. It was like discovering a gold mine with all kinds of cool music, ranging from the hits of the 60's to the boy bands of the 90's! So yeah, it got pretty diverse right from the get-go.
He started playing the bass at twelve, and fell in love with the instrument right away. Around the same time he was introduced to the music of Metallica & Yngwie Malmsteen by a friend, and that would turn out to widen his already eclectic taste, adding to the mix groups like Testament, Slayer, At the Gates, Opeth, Anthrax, Dismember, In Flames, Meshuggah, Dark Tranquillity & The Haunted, to name a few. Johannes would later go on to attend Södra Latins Gymnasium's prestigious music program, where he studied with Hjörleifur Höddi Björnsson & Robert Sundin. It was during this time that his interest for the fusion genre grew increasingly stronger & began to take up more of his time. Says Johannes:
I really connected with it in a way that I hadn't with any of the previous genres. I mean, I had heard the music of Chick Corea, Return to Forever & Weather Report before, and thought it was good, but I was completely blown away when I discovered Dave Weckl, Allan Holdsworth, The Brecker Brothers, Yellowjackets, Pat Metheny Group, and all that stuff.
Based on a mutual love for fusion, and instrumental music overall, Johannes and fellow classmates Aron Mellergårdh, Erik Linder, Arvid Svenungsson & Jonah Nilsson started the group Magnolia.
Yeah, we wrote some songs, but only managed to complete & record one really. It was titled Seven Peaces - and yes, it was misspelled intentionally! - but that track was actually influenced more by Emerson, Lake & Palmer & other progressive rock groups that we were listening to at the time, rather than fusion.
This project would later evolve into the group Split Vision, with the addition of another classmate, Leonard Malm, on vocals. Heavily influenced by the music of Toto, Jay Graydon, Planet 3, Chicago (and the likes), they gained some slight success in 2006 with the release of their self-titled demo, but would eventually disband as Malm moved to Los Angeles.
In 2009, Johannes released his first solo CD Luna Nueva, a debut that earned him praise from critics, peers & fans alike. Apart from a host of Swedish session musicians, the CD also featured some of Johannes' long-time musical heroes: Jay Oliver (Dave Weckl, Jimmy Buffett, Jay Graydon et al.), Jason Rebello (Sting, Jeff Beck, Wayne Shorter et al.), Otmaro Ruiz (Frank Gambale, Gino Vannelli, John McLaughlin et al.) & Eric Marienthal (Chick Corea Elektric Band, Lee Ritenour, The Rippingtons et al.). At the time of the release, Johannes commented:
Oh man, yeah, having some of my absolute heroes on this CD has been nothing less than a dream come true. If someone had told me 8 years ago that the saxophonist of Chick Corea's freakin' Elektric Band would play on a solo CD of mine... well, let's just say I would've seriously doubted it!! These cats are all super professional & such nice guys, it was a real joy & honor having them on the CD, and I thank them immensely for their contributions. Hopefully we get to work together again soon!
2011 sees the release of his eagerly-awaited sophomore album Painter's Portrait. An album that continues where Luna Nueva left off, but also adds another level to the music by introducing some new elements (flute, EWI & vocals, among other things). Recorded with the same core group of Swedish musicians featured on Luna Nueva, this album also includes special guest appearances by Bob Mintzer (Yellowjackets, Jaco Pastorius, Buddy Rich et al.), Brandon Fields (George Benson, Tower of Power, Earth, Wind & Fire et al.), Steve Weingart (Dave Weckl Band, El Grupo, Steve Lukather et al.) & Jason Rebello, who's making a return to the line-up.
Currently living in Stockholm, Johannes splits his time between teaching bass & doing session work for various groups & artists.
“A full blown tapestry of multiple sound effects has been cleverly constructed into one of the neatest recordings to come out in some time. Bassist keyboardist Johannes Zetterberg and his cast of wonderfully talented musicians have created a sonic marvel in Luna Nueva. “ - Richard Kolp, Upbeat & More Internet Radio
“Albums like this should come with some kind of warning sticker saying, “Contains music by shamelessly talented young musicians and might hit you like a slap in the face”. Ouch! I was hit and floored but I managed to get back on my feet just in time to press the repeat button on my CD player. If you’re a fusion aficionado, this album will appeal to you. Period!” - Mikael Engström, Inside MusiCast
“It’s so rare to hear good electric jazz these days and if one has to go across the pond to find it, then be fearless and make the jaunt. If you like the Chick Corea Elektric Band, you’ll love this recording. If this recording is a portent for things to come, then Zetterberg’s future is bright indeed.” - Thomas R. Erdmann, Jazzreview.com
“…get this awesome CD if you’re into fusion/jazz of highest class.” - Ola Gränshagen, Melodic.net, Sweden
Painter's Portrait (Innate Groove Records, 2011)
Tracks: Ghost of a Second (Prologue); Dark Horse; Painter's Portrait; Rope Walk; Just a Thought (Interlude); Beyond Borders; Via del Mare; For What It's Worth; Up For Grabs; The Coming Storm (Epilogue).
Personnel: Johannes Zetterberg: Bass, keyboard; Aron Mellergårdh: Drums; Steinar Aadnekvam: Guitar; Jens Filipsson: Saxophone, flute; Brandon Fields: Saxophone; Jonas Isaksson: Guitar; Peter Fredriksson: Trombone; Steve Weingart: Keyboard; Karl Persson: Drums; Jonah Nilsson: Vocals; Bob Mintzer: Saxophone, EWI; Erik Linder: Guitar; Oskar Nilsson: Vocals; Jason Rebello: Keyboard; Andreas Ekstedt: Percussion; Jonne Bentlöv: Trumpet.
Luna Nueva (Innate Groove Records, 2009)
Tracks: Thrill Minute; Another Exit; Quintana Roo; Luna Nueva (Only a Dream); Splinter; Adrenochrome; Past Tense - Pt. I; Past Tense - Pt. II; Seven Summits; Tierra del Fuego.
Personnel: Johannes Zetterberg: Bass, keyboard; Aron Mellergårdh: Drums, percussion; Jay Oliver: Keyboard; Erik Linder: Guitar; Jens Filipsson: Saxophone; Arvid Svenungsson: Keyboard; Jonathan Fritzén: Keyboard; Eric Marienthal: Saxophone; Calle Stålenbring: Guitar; Jason Rebello: Keyboard; Jonas Isaksson: Guitar; Otmaro Ruiz: Keyboard; Andreas Ekstedt: Percussion.
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