Finnish elder statesman for improvisational music extends his quartet and his harmonic reach with the stellar Tum recording, To Future Memories.
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
Finland has long been a rich and fertile playground where improvisational musicians flourish often combining western influences with their own unique cultural offerings with the end result being a musical freedom of expression rarely heard across the globe. Approaching 80, Finnish legend Juhani Aaltonen still has plenty of gas left in the tank as he approaches the work of bassist Antti Hytti with a quiet dignity and grace befitting music that is rich in an emotive quality of melancholy laced with the open ended approach of western artists such as Pharaoh Sanders.
Joining Juhani we have esteemed pianist Iro Haarla and along with early Finnish improvisational masters bassist Ulf Krokfors and drummer Reino "Reiska" Laine. While it would be cliché' to refer to the passing of the torch, the next generation of Finland's finest are represented with outstanding performances from bassist Ville Herrala and percussionist Tatu Ronkko who play an integral part in opening up the improvisational path on compositions that were initially meant for Finnish cinema. The textured percussive nuances add a rhythmic depth that would seem to push the original quartet and the compositions grow from a more sedentary film from film into an organic microcosm of harmonic possibilities.
Beauty, introspection and an untold angst are found throughout compositions such as "Ursula" and "Reminiscence." There are numerous and formidable European quartets that can play the notes. Juhani Aaltonon and his ensemble make the music!
Tracks: Reminiscence; Kukunor; To Future Memories; Hiisi; Ursula; All The Birds; Haze.
Personnel: Juhani Aaltonen: Tenor Saxophone (1,3,5,6,7), Flute (2,4,), Bass Flute (4); Iro Haarla: Piano and Harp; Ulf Krokfors: Double Bass (Right); Ville Herrala: Double Bass (Left); Reino Laine: Drums; Tatu Ronkko: Percussion.