Saturday, January 19, 2013

Jussi Reijonen Un UNC Records 2013

Jussi Reijonen will release Un in the United States on Feburary 26th 2013. The word virtuoso has been tossed about to the point by some critics, including myself where the true meaning may be lost in an attempt to lavish Reijonen with the high praise he so richly deserves.

A true master in every sense of the word when it comes to the fretted and fretless guitar not to forget the Oud which is an eleven string Arabian lute. Now before most listeners begin thinking world music or Arabian music which at times can some overly repetitive and occasionally lack a sonic depth of field and the flavor and texture to separate one from a somewhat tightly clustered pack allow me to clue you in. Un certainly has a world music tie in with a myriad of influences that bring together European culture with the form and function of western improvisation. Musicians joining Reijnen are from Finland, Turkey, Sweden, Palestine and Spain. The end result of Un is a jazz collective that while may find a more global happy place sidesteps specific genres with relative ease and creates an ambient feel open ended time and space. Combine the incredible aesthetic quality with the prolific instrumental talents of Reijonen and the end result is a jazz collective for the new millennium.

Reijonen's quintet does exquisite work with John Coltrane's "Naima." From a tune more traditionally western we move to an intimate more introspective "Nuku Sie" with Reijonen holding down the fretless guitar chair while bassist Bruno Raberg's lyrical and spacious work allows for an all most neo classical work but again the attempt to tag the release "as" is an exercise in sonic futility. The piece suddenly moves from the more spacious ambient vibe to something more decidedly Arabic but does so with an ebb and flow that would rival most ECM releases. "Kaiku" features the vocals of Eva Loughivuori along with some intoxicating percussion work from Tareq Rantisi and Sergio Martinez. The pristine vocals of Louhivuori and an extreme yet deceptively subtle nuance that take what may be considered an ordinary recording by most standards and move to the level of extraordinary quickly.

Jussi Reijonen is in fact the real deal with a resume that boasts work with Jack DeJohnette and fretless guitar virtuoso David Fiuczynski among others. As a group they have work the jazz and world music ladder including Paul Simon, Rudresh Mahanthappa, and Steve Smith.

4 out of 5 Stars...Incredibly close to perfect as one can achieve. My only criticism would be I would love to hear more than just six tracks.

Tracks: Serpentine; Naima; Bayatiful; Toumani; Nuku Sie; Kaiku.

Personnel: Jussi Reijonen: guitar (fretted and fretless), oud; Utar Artun: piano, piano percussion; Bruno Raberg; acoustic bass; Tareq Rantisi: percussion; Sergio Martinez: percussion.