Amazon.com Widgets
4 Recommend It!

Juhani Aaltonen: To Future Memories – The Music of Antti Hytti

By Published: | 2,256 views
Juhani Aaltonen: Juhani Aaltonen: To Future Memories â The Music of Antti Hytti Can anyone just decide, on a whim, to take up an instrument and simply become a working musician anymore? That's precisely what Juhani Aaltonen
Juhani Aaltonen
Juhani Aaltonen
b.1935
saxophone
did as an eighteen year-old living in the town of Inkeroinen, in central Finland back in the early 1950s. Apart from a year of study at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, and a semester at Berklee (where he worked with Herb Pomeroy
Herb Pomeroy
Herb Pomeroy
b.1930
trumpet
), Aaltonen is that rarest of all birds: a self-taught master musician who learned directly from his peers during rehearsals, jam sessions, and on the bandstand. He's had an amazing career, collaborating with virtually everyone of consequence in Finland's rock, folk and jazz scene. Though he's best known to US audiences for his work with forward-looking Euro-jazz artists such as Arild Andersen
Arild Andersen
Arild Andersen
b.1945
bass, acoustic
, Tomasz Stanko
Tomasz Stanko
Tomasz Stanko
b.1942
trumpet
, and Edward Vesala
Edward Vesala
b.1945
, Aaltonen also co-founded Finland's first internationally renowned rock band-Tasavallan Presidentti-and has collaborated with jazz-rock and progressive rock artists such as Finnforest, Pekka Pohjola
Pekka Pohjola
1952 - 2008
bass
, and Jukka Gustavson. Central to Aaltonen's artistry is the practice of free improvisation, which figured prominently into several of his earlier recordings as a leader such as Hot Lotta (Blue Master Records, 1971) with Vesala, bassist Peter Kowald
Peter Kowald
Peter Kowald
1944 - 2002
bass, acoustic
and saxophonist Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
Peter Brotzmann
b.1941
reeds
, and Prana—Live At Groovy (Leo Records, 1981) with Vesala and bassist Reggie Workman
Reggie Workman
Reggie Workman
b.1937
bass
.

To Future Memories finds Aaltonen accompanied by his working quartet plus an additional bassist and percussionist. Pianist Iro Haarla and drummer Reino Laine have worked with Aaltonen for over three decades. Ulf Krokfors, a bassist who has worked with Vesala and guitarist Raoul Bjorkenheim
Raoul Bjorkenheim
Raoul Bjorkenheim
b.1956
guitar
, is a newer associate. Ever selfless, Aaltonen has chosen to feature the compositions of bassist Antti Hytti. Though Hytti doesn't appear on the album, his playing career is almost as diverse as Aaltonen's. Hytti, who has also worked with Vesala and Stanko, is best known to Finnish audiences for his extensive collaboration with multi-intrumentalist Sakari Kukko
Sakari Kukko
Sakari Kukko
b.1953
in the jazz-rock-folk band Piirpauke. Hytti's compositions, like those of Aaltonen and Vesala, straddle the parallel worlds of avant garde jazz and traditional Finnish folk music. In the liner notes, Aaltonen confesses that he was initially drawn to Hytti's pieces due to their melancholic, anguished nature: "the mark of a life lived." This is readily palpable on the album. Hytti's music-much of which was originally composed for film and theater pieces-is emotionally charged and, as Aaltonen attests, readily conjures visual images. Arresting and dramatic, the music here will nevertheless seem familiar to fans of previous TUM releases such as Iro Haarla's Kolibri (TUM Records, 2013) and Edward Vesala's many recordings for ECM and his own Leo imprint.

Strong melodies abound throughout To Future Memories, with Aaltonen's expressionistic reeds well out in front. Part of the first wave of European post-Coltrane jazz saxophonists, Aaltonen's playing also parallels that of Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd
Charles Lloyd
b.1938
saxophone
, Brotzmann and, despite playing tenor, Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
Eric Dolphy
1928 - 1964
reeds
. His fluid tenor lines are long and unpredictable, and-as he shows during an unaccompanied salvo on "Ursula"- he can inject nasty, fire-spitting gravel or winsome sweetness into a solo at any given moment. As a flautist, Aaltonen is in a class by himself. Broad in tone, with a hint of vibrato, his improvising on "Kukunor" and "Hiisi," seems to come from someplace outside of jazz: ancient Finnish folk music, or birdsongs of some sort. Like Aaltonen, Haarla is a poly-stylistic player who uses space quite effectively during her dark-toned, brooding improvisations on "All the Birds" and "Kukunor."

Composer Hytti is a bassist and, consequently, the bass figures prominently throughout To Future Memories. The presence of second bassist Ville Herrala frees Krokfors up considerably as a soloist and as a potential front-line partner; both feature prominently on "Hiisi," and on the album's two final tracks "All The Birds" and "Haze." The music, though largely free and rubato-to- moderate in tempo, constantly varies in density and shifts into and out of tempo. Percussionist Tatu Rönkkö adds a layer of color using bowed cymbals and a variety of bells, shakers and rattles. Reino Laine, a contemporary of Aaltonen's who has recorded with the likes of Jukka Tolonen
Jukka Tolonen
b.1952
guitar, electric
, Heikki Sarmanto
Heikki Sarmanto
b.1939
piano
, and Eero Koivistoinen
Eero Koivistoinen
Eero Koivistoinen
b.1946
reeds
, is a mobile and active drummer who presents Aaltonen with a Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
Jack DeJohnette
b.1942
drums
-like rhythmic foil on "Haze," "Hiisi," and "Reminiscence." Elsewhere, he holds back, joining Rönkkö in the background, adding brushes, long rolls, and cymbal washes.

As with all of the releases on the TUM label, the disc is accompanied by a beautifully laid-out booklet replete with photographs, original artwork, Aaltonen's personal notes and biographies of everyone involved. A beautiful package, through-and-through.


Track Listing: Reminiscence; Kukunor; To Future Memories (dedicated to Jussi Kylätasku); Hiisi; Ursula (for the Polish ladies); All The Birds; Haze.

Personnel: Juhani Aaltonen: tenor saxophone (1, 3, 5-7), flute (2, 4) and bass flute (4); Iro Haarla: piano; Ulf Krokfors: double bass; Ville Herrala: double bass; Reino Laine drums; Tatu Rönkkö: percussion.

Record Label: TUM Records

Style: Modern Jazz


comments powered by Disqus

Weekly Giveaways

Roscoe Mitchell

Roscoe Mitchell

About | Enter

Peter Lerner

Peter Lerner

About | Enter

Jamie Saft

Jamie Saft

About | Enter

Sun Trio

Sun Trio

About | Enter

Sponsor: Nonesuch Records