No gimmicks. No cookie-cutter formatted templates. Just good sound. That’s what pianist Jonathan Fritzen brings with Magical (Nordic Night Records, 2012). The Swedish-American artist showcases his skills as musician, composer and producer.

Born in Stockholm to a Swedish mother and American father, Fritzen started playing drums as a child, and later added piano, bass, guitar, flute and vocals. His release Diamonds reached Number 1 on both the Billboard airplay charts and sales charts.

A variable lineup of supporting musicians aids Fritzen in this effort. Special guests include saxophonist Boney James on the title track, guitarist Paul Brown on “Sweet Spot” and vocalist Malene Mortensen on “Can’t Get You Out of My Mind.”

“Love Will Overcome” is a lively piece that features Jackiem Joyner on saxophone. Bassist Alex Al lays down a cool groove, with drummer Eric Valentine, guitarist Michael Thompson and percussionist Andreas Ekstedt helping to round out the sound. Fritzen and Joyner blend beautifully on the melody, with the sax out front quite a bit. The rhythm section provides plenty of depth during the piano solo and throughout the rest of the song.

The aptly titled “Electric” brings in Darryl Williams for bass duties and Randy Jacobs on guitars. Ektstedt and Valentine complete the lineup. Fritzen provides the energy, but as with the other tracks, the other musicians are solidly involved. The rhythm guitar is subtle, yet effective. After a brief, quiet interlude, the song reverts to the main theme. Fritzen cranks up the juice for the power surge ending.

Fritzen composed all 11 songs on Magical. A straightforward smooth jazz release, this set brings to mind some of the music of Bob James or David Benoit, jazz piano greats who easily shift from contemporary to pop-jazz or even orchestral sounds.