Sunday, February 23, 2014

Henrik Otto Donner & Tumo And It Happened Tum 2014

A harmonic portrait of nuanced intimacy with a bold melodic undercurrent flowing just beneath. Outstanding.
Brent Black /
When writing about music the phrase, "Colors you can hear..." will occasionally come up. I would be remiss if I did not mention that the evocative cover art pictured above was created by Leena Luostarinen, a Finnish master. Henrik Otto Donnor & Tumo capture the deep yet deceptively nuanced textures of Luostarinen's work with And It Happened.
Tumo is a 33-member improvisational orchestra and with this as their second outing, a twelve member string section was led by the late composer and arranger Henrik Otto Donnor who passed away soon after the completion of this exquisite offering from the Tum label. Aside from the full big band and string section the featured artists here include Finnish saxophone great Juhani Aaltonen on tenor saxophone and flute along with acclaimed vocalist Johanna Iivanainen. Donnor is a composer of not only note but variety having composed for 21 films, television and feature plays along with his work as a critically acclaimed trumpet player in Finland.
The music of Henrik Otto Donner does not follow convention, it politely pushes it to one side. Donner has that rare ability to take a melody, invert it and procedure down that harmonic road less traveled. The soul of heavy bebop fused with European classical, Finnish by birth yet with a global riff thanks to a free ranging lyrical sense of purpose. A new and challenging presentation of the free improvisational spirit as the cultural by product of experiences.
Tracks: Junnuda; Close Your Eyes; Entreatly; The First Summer; Have Me, Hold Me; These Are The Days; And It Happened; For Friends and Relatives.
Personnel: Juhaani Aaltonen: Tenor Saxophone, Alto Flute; Johanna Iivanainen: Vocals; Mikko Hassinen: Conductor; Strings Conducted By Henrik Otto Donner.
Tumo: Jukka Eskola, Kalevi Louhivouri, Tero Saarti, and Martti Vesala: Trumpet and Flugel Horn; Jari Hongisto, IImari Pohjola, Kasperi Sarikoski and Mikael Langbacka: Trombone; Kalle Hassinen: French Horn; Mikko Marttila: Tuba; Manuel Dunkel, Jussi Kannaste, Mikko Innanen, Pentti Lahti and Pepa Paivinen: Saxophones, Clarinets, Flutes; Seppo Kantonen: Piano; Iro Haarla: Harp; Ville Herrala and Ville Huolman: Double Bass; Markku Ounaskari:and Stefan Pasborg: Drums; Makaela Palmu: Helmi Kussi, Kaisa Ivars and Isa Halme: First Violin; Kreeta-Julia Heikkila, Aino Eerola and Annica Brannkarr: Second Violin; Barbora Hilpo, Carmen Moggach and Maarit Holkko: Viola; Iida-Vilhelmiina Laine and Aino-Maija Riutamaa de Mata: Cello.