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Jazz the Norway

Read "Jazz the Norway" reviewed by Javier AQ Ortiz

2005 marks the centennial of Norwegian independence from Sweden. Though you might not know it, Norwegians can, have been, and will be jazzing things up for quite a long time. Some are even among us in NYC! The field of jazz studies is indebted to jazz historians Bjørn Stendahl and Johs Bergh whose published work on Norwegian jazz history is expertly summarized...albeit in need of some editorial fine tuning...at the Norwegian Jazz Base website, part of the National ...


Trumpeter Jarkko Hakala

Read "Trumpeter Jarkko Hakala" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Jarkko Hakala speaks like he plays trumpet. Concise, sometimes witty phrases spring forth fully formed from thoughtful silence. The phrases’depth then further impregnates the inevitable pauses with more meaning. These long pauses in conversation show Hakala to be very much from Finland, a country where silence is welcomed, and one does not speak unless one has something meaningful to say. Hakala might attribute the speech pauses to, in his evaluation, his sub-par English, and he might evaluate his own playing ...


Finland's Fringe Music on Forgotten Formats: A Survey of Independent Releases

Read "Finland's Fringe Music on Forgotten Formats:  A Survey of Independent Releases" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

In its march to the digital future the sound recording industry has left for dead a variety of formats. The mainstream recording industry long ago abandoned the 7” vinyl single, the 45 rpm, and the cassette. But when the mainstream abandons one technology as obsolete, the underground waits to claim it as a possibility. As the recording industry consolidates its hold on technology and distribution, a growing number of musicians are using the old formats, and a new one, the ...


Two New TUM Releases: John Tchicai & Triot/Aaltonen, Cyrille & Workman

Read "Two New TUM Releases: John Tchicai & Triot/Aaltonen, Cyrille & Workman" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

’Glacial’, ‘pastoral’, Lightless days’, ‘snow swept’: writers often feel compelled to resort to sub-arctic language when describing records coming from the Nordic countries. Of course, this compulsion is not unfounded. Jan Garbarek, Edward Vesala, and many others have all used folk song and spacious, melancholy moods as a basis for improvisation. But brawny free jazz and propulsive rhythms have been used just as much.

Two new albums from the Finnish label TUM belong to this latter category. ...


Live: Yves Robert Trio & Andre Sumelius' Lift

Read "Live: Yves Robert Trio & Andre Sumelius' Lift" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

For the past eight years producer Charles Gil has been doing his part for better European co-operation. A Frenchman living in Finland, he uses the financial support of the French Ministry of Culture and the Finnish organization ESEK to bring Finnish and French improvisers to tour both countries. His first tour was in 1996, and the French representative was the trombonist Yves Robert’s quartet.

In 2004, after fifteen tours, Gil has brought Robert back to Finland, this time ...


The Big Band Music of Onttonen, Ikonen and Mikkonen

Read "The Big Band Music of Onttonen, Ikonen and Mikkonen" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

--> The big band’s role in jazz has shifted throughout the years, riding the changes of the music itself. Used to be big bands were the place where young players cut their performance teeth, honed their chops and gained the confidence to develop their own voice. When jazz started to lean towards small groups, the large ensembles waned in popularity, and when it moved into the conservatories, formal instruction took the place of nightly educations.

With the rise ...


Nordic Sounds: Jazz (and Beyond) in the Nordic Countries

Read "Nordic Sounds:  Jazz (and Beyond) in the Nordic Countries" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

America’s popular culture - be it movies, popular music or jazz - has exerted on 20th century European culture a profound influence. In music critic Simon Frith’s book, Sound Effects , German film director Wim Wenders says, ”The Americans colonized our sub-conscious.” But ironically it was not in America, but in Europe that jazz, labeled by many Stateside critics as ”America’s Classical Music”, was first appreciated intellectually. Many of the first journals and magazines devoted to jazz appeared in France ...


Haarla, Krokfors & Paivinen: Intimate Intensity

Read "Haarla, Krokfors & Paivinen:  Intimate Intensity" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

The Finnish composer and drummer Edward Vesala once said, “If you want to make music, do it with 100% conviction or don't bother at all." As a musical setting, duets are a dangerous space: they can clearly show if a musician does not have 100% conviction, for they leave improvisers naked, both technically and emotionally. Such an intimate setting exposes a musician’s technique and ideas without the cover of a whole ensemble, as well as revealing the musician as a ...


Delirium in Concert: Dialoguing with the Ages

Read "Delirium in Concert:  Dialoguing with the Ages" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

Jazz Bar February 19, 2004 Jyväskylä, Finland

Musicians constantly dialogue with two entities: themselves and tradition. Music is rarely ever totally new, but builds on what has come before, adding extensions and responses. As the world of recorded sound grows exponentially, so grows the dialogue’s number of participants. The Finnish-Danish quartet Delirium gleefully takes part in this ongoing conversation, with a brash, beautifully constructed music that stems from an obvious love for playing and the tradition. ...


Composed Spontaneity: The Music of Kari Ikonen, Mikko Innanen and Esa Onttonen

Read "Composed Spontaneity: The Music of Kari Ikonen, Mikko Innanen and Esa Onttonen" reviewed by Matthew Wuethrich

“Music is music. You can't put it into state borders." -- Mikko Innanen Saxophonist and composer Mikko Innanen has a story that should make listeners think twice about reading too much into a performer's nationality. A Danish critic titled a recent review of an Innanen concert “Tales from Finland" and singled out his composition, “Second Night", as “sounding very Finnish". The problem is that the tune has nothing to do with Finland; it was based on the ...

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