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The enigmatic, Shawn Lane, is gone forever
Our friend Shawn Lane has passed away. Please keep his family in prayers. His music and memories will be with us forever.
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News from 9/26/03 Shawn Lane has passed away this evening at the age of 40. Please keep his family in your prayers.
Shawn Lane 21 March 1963, Memphis TN - 26 Sept. 2003 Guitarist Shawn Lane, who progressed from a teen-aged hard-rock star to a master of world fusion music, has died after a drastic battle with lung disease. He was forty years old.

Lane began his musical interests very young, studying piano and cello from the age of four. He took up the guitar at eight, and it remained his principal instrument from then on. He quickly became a legend in Memphis' music scene as the feisty young kid began his professional playing and recording career when he was 12. At 14 he was hired into Black Oak Arkansas towards the end of the boogie-rock band's peak of fame. The teen wonder shocked and amazed audiences at stadium shows across the nation. He also performed with the band at Governor Bill Clinton's inauguration.

Four years later Lane quit performing entirely to concentrate on his family and studies. He returned to playing at the age of 20, in the house band of the Peabody Hotel. His growing resume included recordings and gigs with DDT, Joe Walsh, Alex Chilton, Sam & Dave, dc Talk, and country supergroup The Highwaymen. The last association led to his Warner Brothers recording contract and the release of Powers of Ten in 1992, along with opportunities for instructional videos and workshops. That year Guitar Player Magazine named Lane their Best New Talent; he also made second place in Keyboard Player Magazine's ranking of keyboard artists.

In 1994 Lane began working with Jonas Hellborg, a phenomenal Swedish bass guitarist who had taken part in the second edition of John McLaughlin's Mahavishnu Orchestra. The two became fast friends and enduring partners, most notably working in trio sessions with various percussionists: Kofi Baker, son of Cream drummer Ginger Baker; Jeff Sipe (Apt. Q-258) from Aquarium Rescue Unit; and the Indian percussion-playing brothers Vinayakram Selvaganesh (Good People in Times of Evil, 2000, Bardo) and Vinayakram Umashankar. Temporal Analogues of Paradise (1996, DEM), recorded with Sipe, was a Miles Davis-like pastiche of live concert segments assembled into two mind-boggling half-hour tracks of improvisation.

In 1999 Lane released his second album as a leader, The Tri-Tone Fascination, on his own Eye Reckon label while keeping up a hectic schedule with Hellborg. His health problems began in 2001, at which time Lane backed off from performing and folded the label with several sessions unreleased. By the end of the year he was gigging with the local group Time Bandits, and in 2002 he rejoined Hellborg and Sipe for a world tour. His last recording was Icon (2003, Bardo) with Hellborg and the Vinayakrams.

In early September 2003 Lane began suffering severe chest pain and underwent various medical tests while preparing for a new album with Hellborg and Ginger Baker. He was expected to remain on oxygen for the remainder of his life, but passed away within a few weeks.

God smiled on me and granted me the chance to hang out with Shawn Lane and Jonas Hellborg and "press the flesh" on May 31st, 2003 for a show at Smilefest in Union Grove, NC. What a blast! So enjoy this brief animated GIF movie below. PS: "God bless you Souvik of

"WHAT A SHOW!!!!!"

Paris DVD Lane, Hellborg and the Vinayakram rhythmed vox gang: Bardo Records had send me this DVD for me to review. Quik blurb: Absolutely mesmerizing Indo-fusion! Expanded thots: Hellborg & Lane played phenomenally and at times seemingly beyond human ability -- like banshee djinn wailing riffs and screaming echoes in the night. Each had room to stretch but never hogged the moment -- the concert being fluid, piece meshing one into another. It was in fact -- a bit mystic like a ritualistic song of worship or a cry to heaven. Awe inspiring -- and deepened even more our great loss at Shawn's passing. What a treasure it is to have this record. The Vinayakrams were beyond words to describe -- a magic, a mastery, a delight to see them in their craft on fire with soul. And as far as the DVD quality -- wonderful, professional, multiple camera angles, fades, zooms, crowd pans, etc, etc all done right. Highest recommendations. ~ John W. Patterson, My tip: Buy this!!

FuseNet post by Editor . . . Date: Tue Jun 18, 2002 4:57 pm Subject: Shawn Lane on Personae . . . Well, I finally nearly shed a tear during a fusion solo! Why? As a struggling guitarist, when you hear what Shawn Lane does live on the cut "Rice With the Angels" off the new Personae -- something just slips away -- any hope of ever reaching the levels that these guys play! Amazing! What a rush!


Hellborg/Lane/Sipe LIVE!


Lane was burning -- no lasering these coherent beams of sound in ostinato bursts like McLaughlin's MahaOrk 70s style but the ostinato runs were so fast and seamlessly fluid they approached the quicksilver shimmer of Holdsworth's legato explosions. It's very hard to imagine an axeman outdoing Mahavishnu John and Gnarly Allan in one solo but I swear -- I heard it happen in Lane's solo outburst.
Click on pic to visit Vigier Guitars, that Lane uses. And as far as Scott Henderson's bluesy-rock-fallin-down-the-stairs- drunk-n-laughin' axe antics go -- Lane covers all that territory elsewhere on Personae. I have to admit that I used to own Powers of Ten and also listened to Tri-tone Fascination all by Lane but never really was deeply satisfied with those releases' overall gestalt(s). Personae however -- Whew! -- great stuff. I am now a solid Lane fan. I highly recommend this release. ~ John W. Patterson 

Shawn Lane: Powers Of Ten Live
2001, Eye Reckon, ER-002

I have waited a long time to get the music from the Powers Of Ten on CD because it is no longer in print. Sometimes when you buy a CD and first go to listen to it, there is an apprehension you have that the music will not meet your expectations. The live version of Powers Of Ten lives up to all expectations and will make you soon forget about any doubts you may have had prior to listening to it. Now that I have become so engrossed with Powers Of Ten Live, it is hard for me to remember that apprehension I once had when I first received this CD from Audiophile Imports.

Shawn Lane lays down some incredible lead work over the tasty collection of compositions contained on this live CD. The compositional depth and content are without a doubt world class. The guitar, piano, and drum work are all inspired and first rate. The feeling and style conveyed in this music transcends all of the incredibly complex mechanics that are involved.

Though the entire effort on this CD is superb, there are several tracks that just shine above the rest, in my mind, anyway. "Get You Back" is one of the best pieces of music I have ever heard. The depth and feeling in the melodies are simply art. There is no other way to put it. This single track embraces every quality that I look for when listening to music. The melodies are complex yet have that Mozart-like, simplistic appeal that makes them easily accessible. Yet the inherent complexity in the melodies makes one never tire of them. Musical genious. Shawn's immense depth of character shines forth in "Get You Back" as he struggles with the pain of love lost and resolves himself to relentlessly regain that lost love with every inch of his great soul. The balance in melody and harmony, and the instrumentation in "Get You Back" is absolutely awesome, not to mention the unbelievably fast guitar solos that balance the slower melody lines. You can listen to this track every day and never get tired of it. "Get You Back" to me is Shawn Lane's crowning achievement and definitive composition. Other incredibly great tracks include "Gray Pianos Flying", "Tri-Heaven", "Tri 7/5", "Rules Of The Game". Shawn uses outside melodies and unusual time signatures in these pieces and pulls it off seemlessly with ease, style, and grace. "Rules Of The Game" is an additional track that was not available on the original Powers Of Ten release. "Rules Of The Game" is an inspired, triumphant denoument that is suitable for the slow-motion, fairytale ending of any feel good movie, as well as the victory gallup of any Grand Prix. But really, this CD is so incredibly good from start to finish, it would be unfair to Shawn to single out tracks as I have done. These ones I have listed are my personal favorites.

This is a "must have" in the collection for any guitar enthusiast. Shawn Lane defies genre and his immense talent slathers this live effort. The music and leadwork are complex, but the complexity has a gravity that grows each time you listen to it. This is one that the most critical musicians will not grow tired of listening. On a scale of one to ten, Powers Of Ten Live gets a 10 ... to the 10th power in my book. This makes the permanent rotation and is top shelf!!!

1) Introduction
2) Esperanto
3) Gray Pianos Flying
4) Black Market
5) West Side Boogie
6) Eqpilogue For Lisa
7) Illusions
8) Get You Back
9) Not Again
10) Drum & Guitar Solo
11) Tri-Heaven
12) Hard Case
13) Drum Solo I
14) Drum Solo II
15) Tri 7/5
16) Introduction Of Musicians

17) Rules Of The Game

~ Chrs Ruel


 Get more info on Shawn LaneShawn Lane: The Tritone Fascination (Eye Reckon, 1999)

Memphis guitarist and composer Shawn Lane continually blurs the lines between solo composer, guitar hero, and fusion improvisationalist. Lane may be the best unknown fusion guitarist, or the most musical guitar "shredder," or simply a gifted guitarist, pianist, and composer whose anonymity masks his impressive versatility and talent.

Instrumental guitar fans know Lane's work from his 1992 solo album Powers of Ten, on which Lane wrote all the music and (on one of the two released versions) played all the instruments, including guitar, bass, keyboards, and drums. Powers failed to win acclaim, perhaps because Lane followed his own direction rather than cater to the instrumental guitar trends of the day. Fusion fans remember Lane's role in former Mahavishnu bassist Jonas Hellborg's trio Hellborg/Lane/Sipe, a highly improvisatory trio that toured America and Europe in 1996-1997, releasing several live records. Lane often highlighted his dynamic guitar range, from chiming clean to blistering flash, by looping background riffs through a sampler or singing his improvised guitar melodies while he played them.

The Tritone Fascination features Lane writing in a variety of instrumental styles, while playing guitar, piano, and sharing bass and drum duties with several Memphis session players. Lane's effortlessly fluid lead guitar soars with sustained emotional impact on sweeping ballads such as "One Note at a Time," "Maria," "Song for Diane," and "The Hurt, The Joy." "The Way It Has To Be" in particular shines with a lush, almost cinematic feel. Perhaps Lane's bout with debilitating arthritis in his knees just before The Tritone Fascination led his composing in these more contemplative musical directions.

"Nine = 101," a shifty blues co-written with Hellborg, focuses on Lane's fiery leads, often played at blazing speed while still retaining a lyrical soul. The sonically adventurous "Art Tatum" imaginatively shifts the mood of the record from the guitar driven songs. Some of the material on Tritone falls into the guitar hero mold of extended solos over repetitive riffs, such as "Hardcase." However, the second half of the record closes strong with stirring ballads and several mid-tempo, more melodic songs that feature Lane's more soulful playing and unison singing of the guitar melodies, like the sinuously rhythmic "Trois Sept Cinq."

Lane's tasty guitar sounds move, as usual, especially when combined with piano or with his airy, ethereal unison singing, doubling the guitar melodies on tracks like "Maria" and "One Note at a Time." The session musicians and Lane's bass and drum work support the guitar effectively. The drum programming on tracks such as "Hardcase" sounds less articulate than the live drums on most of the record, but for more sonically experimental tracks like "Art Tatum," the electronic drums match the sonic palette of the song.

The Tritone Fascination epitomizes Lane's versatility in writing and playing, with instrumental guitar hero style songs and expressive, melodic songs like the more moody tunes in his work with Hellborg/Lane/Sipe. As a studio record, Tritone can't approach the captivating live interaction of Lane's groups such as Hellborg/Lane/Sipe, but it adroitly highlights Lane's wide ranging writing and playing skills.

Reviewed by Scott Andrews []

More Information:

Get more info on Shawn Lane: The Tritone Fascination
2000, Eye Reckon

Shawn Lane is back with The Tritone Fascination, setting out to continue his demonstration of guitar, keyboard, and compositional prowess that he established with Powers Of Ten. This effort, though similar to Powers Of Ten, differs a little in style, feel, and compositional content. There is more content that has a straight ahead instrumental rock feel with a sophisticated composition and soloing angle. There are also some compositions that are more theme-centric that do not seem to strive for overpowering guitar domination. The result of this is some very accessible music. Shawn Lane's playing is once again astounding, as you might expect. But, there is also a very tactful balance between his outrageous guitar work and the compositional frame that he packages it in. The harder, driving rock tracks with scorching guitar work are balanced by some very soulful, sentimental, melodic themes that Lane develops on other tracks.

The album starts out with two straight ahead rock pieces that Shawn Lane rips to shreds with his guitar playing. Lane's coverage of Jimi Hendrix's "Peace In Mississippi" is probably better than the original. The lead guitar work is definitely alive and full of speedy patterns that are Lane's signature. But, don't try to get an impression of the entire album from the first two or three tracks. The album is diverse in nature and takes a change of direction on the fourth track, "The Way It Has To Be" that is slightly reminiscent of "Get You Back" in feel and emotion from Powers of Ten. "Tri--7\5" is the album's centerpiece with some of Shawn's finest composition, instrumental work, and thematic development, all brilliantly integrated with some unusual time signatures and outside harmonization. Several sentimental compositions follow that are theme-centric, beginning with "The Hurt The Joy". These compositions feature some well-felt playing by Shawn that makes for some very enjoyable, accessible listening material. "One Note At A Time" is one of the highlights on the album for me with its soulful, upbeat melodies that erupt into some speedy guitar runs that somehow manage to keep the relaxed, tranquil feel that characterizes the rest of the composition. The final track, "Epilogue, Bach", is another exceptional piece of music off of this album, as Lane demonstrates his comprehensive grasp on classical music and particularly the stylisms of JSB.

The Tritone Fascination is characterized by diverse, sophisticated yet accessible compositions, virtuosic, stellar instrumentation, fastidious production, and solid, theme-centric musicality. This is definitely my kind of music. If you liked Powers Of Ten by Shawn Lane or if you like world class musicianship, you should check out The Tritone Fascination. I don't know if I would say it is as good as Powers Of Ten, but definitely of that caliber.

1) Kaiser Nancarrow
2) Peace In Mississippi
3) Minarets
4) The Way It Has To Be
5) Tri--7\5
6) Art Tatum
7) The Hurt The Joy
8) Maria
9) One Note At A Time
10) Song For Diane
11) Epilogue, Bach (Ich Ruf Zu Dir)

~ Chris Ruel





If you are seeking out-of-print and hard-to-find CDs . . .
try my new eBay page where I post CD finds for sale.
Rare CDs at eBay
"Jazz Fusion Guy" @ eBay page

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