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LIVE REVIEWS March 21, 2014

Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio at Sellohalli

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Mikko Innanen's Innkvisitio Sellohalli 10th Anniversary Concert Helsinki March 13, 2014Much music is best consumed with a pinch of salt, if not a glass of beer or something stronger, and the best works of Mikko Innanen are quite hard on the aural digestive system. But as any good meal appeals to far more senses than the gastronomic, so Innanen is involved in more than a musical odyssey. Moreover the meal he serves has to be considered very much in its context. This concert formed a 10th anniversary show for his main ...

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INTERVIEWS January 17, 2014

Josh Pollock: More Than Just The Notes

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Josh Pollock may seem a strange guitarist to be featured in a jazz magazine in as much as a large body of his music is distinctly rock-worthy. Indeed in this interview he explicitly avows the necessity for rock bands, and especially ones in which he is involved such as 3 Leafs and Citay, to really rock! But in addition to his mainstay work in and around San Francisco theaters (Shotgun, EXIT Theater) Pollock has been participating in radical freestyle composition and performance, much of which can readily be incorporated under the jazz rubric. Most noteworthy of recent ...

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LIVE REVIEWS August 15, 2013

Black Motor with Verneri Pohjola at the 2013 Flow Festival

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Black Motor with Verneri PohjolaFlow Festival, The Balloon StageHelsinki, FinlandAugust 11, 2013On the last day of the summer holidays, and under what's typical seasonally unpredictable weather, a large crowd gathered in downtown Helsinki for Scandinavia's urban music event, Flow Festival. Black Motor Trio began its set with a tunes featuring its usual bravado and panache, ably abetted by Finland's decorated trumpeter, Verneri Pohjola. This was the same lineup as on its recent release Rubidium (TUM records, 2012), where the band successfully interwove Pohjola's more melodic pieces with its usual free jazz repertoire. The band frequently ...

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LIVE REVIEWS May 3, 2013

Dave Liebman / Andy Emler Trio: Helsinki, Finland, April 24, 2013

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Dave Liebman with the Andy Emler TrioApril Jazz FestivalLouhisaliTapiolaHelsinki, FinlandApril 24, 2013 Saxophonist Dave Liebman is known to have played the length and breadth of the jazz world, on both sides of the Atlantic, in both hemispheres, and, having done so for nearly 50 years, it is impressive that he is still able to find novelty and innovation in every performance. As his record testifies, his name is synonymous with virtuosity and also humility, as he devotes himself to educational work in equal measure to performance. His ...

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LIVE REVIEWS October 25, 2012

European Saxophone Ensemble: Helsinki, Finland, October 9, 2012

European Saxophone EnsembleKoko Jazz ClubHelsinki, FinlandOctober 9, 2012For want of a better explanation, some great gigs really do just happen--the place, the people, the acoustics, even the weather conspiring to make the program truly fantastic as well as fitting. And on Wednesday night, October 9, down at the Koko Jazz Club, tucked away behind an Adventist church on the edge of downtown Helsinki, was just such a conspiracy.Stumbling on the European Saxophone Ensemble completely by accident, there were twelve saxophonists from twelve different countries--all youthful, some downright young--playing seven different varieties of saxophones ...

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LIVE REVIEWS September 11, 2012

Bill Frisell: Helsinki, Finland, August 29, 2012

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Bill FrisellHelsinki FestivalHelsinki, FInlandAugust 29, 2012 It's hard to find a summer festival that is not critically dependent on the weather for that essential vibe. As such, August's Helsinki Festival stands as good a chance as any for success, with the main stage located a half-mile from the central station on a bank beside an inlet of the Baltic, where 600 people can sit in relative comfort under a 40 foot high, custom built steel and poly-propylene marquee. And when the weather does shine there's an outdoor bar and all those old faces to ...

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LIVE REVIEWS August 27, 2012

Flow Festival: Helsinki, Finland, August 10-12, 2012

Flow Festival in FinlandSuvilahti, HelsinkiAugust 10-12, 2012 Every music festival worth its salt can boast something different from the others, where it's the performers, participants, legacy or location. Helsinki's Flow Festival, always held on the last official weekend of summer before schools restart, has established itself, in its nine years of existence, as the only truly urban festival in the country--a feature reinforced by Helsinki's role in 2012 as official Design Capital of the World. It is solidly established in the calendar of young urban Finns, and seems on the way to being in all savvy Scandinavian ...

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LIVE REVIEWS August 4, 2012

Pori Jazz Festival: Pori, Finland, July 19-21, 2012

Pori Jazz Festival uLTRA mUSIC nIGHTSPori, FinlandJuly 19-21, 2012 On a scale of 1-10, summertime activity in the capital of this northerly European nation barely registers a “1," whilst in the normally sleepy western coastal town of Pori it is topping out for the penultimate week of July. It's the annual Pori Jazz Festival. Along with over 1,000 local voluntary helpers, there were about 140,000 visitors this year attending about 120 concerts, of which almost 70% were free. And on top of this there was a whole week of children's activities and concerts involving ...

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LIVE REVIEWS June 14, 2012

Sun Trio: Helsinki, Finland, May 22, 2012

Sun TrioLaulumiehet RestaurantHelsinki, FinlandMay 22, 2012We never really listen to music with only our ears; even in a dark room, lying back with headphones, our mind fills with images, sensations and other paraphernalia. Similarly, seeing Sun Trio perform in the hallowed surroundings of Helsinki's Laulumiehet Restaurant, it was impossible to disassociate the three young Finnish musicians from the oil paintings of illustrious musicians whose images hang on the wood-paneled walls all around the artists and the audience. All three are heavily committed professionals, recognized around northern Europe and beyond as artists at ...

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LIVE REVIEWS May 4, 2012

Suunta: Helsinki, Finland, April 18, 2012

Suunta: An Exploration of Image and Imagination. Helsinki Music Center Helsinki, Finland April 18, 2012 The very title of this project suggests that it is more than just a concert put together by three jobbing musicians, a musical experience with higher goals than just entertainment. The name of the ensemble, Suunta, means “direction" and was inspired by a visit to a planetarium and an introduction to interplanetary navigation. From this grew the idea of a navigated journey around our earthly world aided by the tools of traditional folk musicians, but put in a very ...

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LIVE REVIEWS April 27, 2012

Kallio Slaaki: Helsinki, Finland, April 12, 2012

Kallio SlaakiKanneltalo Helsinki, FinlandApril 12, 2012 In spring 1973 the Prince of Psychedelia, Daevid Allen, invited his adulatory and, quite likely, addlepated audience to follow his band Gong as they ventured on their journey “Down the Oily Way," a euphemism for a trip as mystical as it was musical. In spring 2012 the diminutive and somber looking Mika Kallio invited his audience to follow him and his trio--and a plethora of gongs--along an equally variegated and often even more humorous path than any 1970s psychedelic musician could have imagined. With his ...

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LIVE REVIEWS April 6, 2012

Herd Trio: Helsinki, Finland, March 29, 2012

Herd TrioKoko Jazz Club Helsinki, FinlandMarch 29, 2012 With their emergence onto the Finnish scene in 2009 in the national competition for the Nordic Jazz Comets award (won that year by the Icelandic Ingemar Andersen Quartet) the Herd trio have been making waves in northern waters ever since. This gig, however, in the newly opened premises of the Koko Jazz Club--now across Helsinki's very short 'Long Bridge' and behind Hakaniemi Square--was their first in the capital since the band had performed at the opening of the town's brand new, state-of-the-art Music House in September ...

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LIVE REVIEWS March 25, 2012

MeTaL-o-PHoNe: Helsinki, Finland, March 14, 2012

MeTaL-o-PHoNe with Aki RissanenKanneltaloHelsinki, FinlandMarch 14, 2012 Winter in most Scandinavian countries can be a grueling protracted experience, with snow lingering on the streets into May. The conditions in Helsinki's concrete suburb of Kannelmäki in mid-March are witness to the first stage of its retreat, the huge mounds piled along the roadside being no longer pristine and aerodynamic but dirty, grit-spattered and angular. Yet the benefit of the city's stoutly devolved artistic outreach program is that venturing to distant corners of town yields rewards with music of as high quality as any capital concert ...

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LIVE REVIEWS March 15, 2012

Marc Ducret: Helsinki, Finland, January 29, 2012

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Marc Ducret SoloMalmintaloHelsinki, FinlandJaunary 29, 2012 A solo performance is by definition an intense experience, and when the musician is committed to a style which is itself close to impenetrable the result can be bewildering; in this case a performance is bound only by the resourcefulness of the audience. Those attending this penultimate concert of French guitarist Marc Ducret's Finnish tour almost certainly knew what to expect. With the assistance of the French Institute, Ducret had toured three times before, playing Finland's largest musical event (Pori Jazz Festival) with his trio ...

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