All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review

Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

394

Verneri Pohjola: Aurora

Bruce Lindsay By

Sign in to view read count
Finnish trumpeter/composer Verneri Pohjola comes from a well-established family of jazz musicians: both his father, famed bassist Pekka Pohjola, and his younger brother, trombonist Ilmari, join him here. Pohjola was voted Musician Of The Year by Finnish jazz critics in 2004, but Aurora is his debut as leader. This is a work of immense beauty which benefits not only from Pahjola's expressive trumpet playing and writing, but also from exceptional musicianship from every single one of its 15 players.

The album's tour de force is the intriguing and dramatic "For Three," a hauntingly lovely tune. At its center is a sweepingly majestic and melancholy theme, played in unison by horns and strings; an immediately affecting theme that lingers in the memory. The percussion is astounding; hard-hitting, almost aggressive at times, it stands in stark contrast to the soft beauty of the other instruments, and yet it serves to accent rather than overwhelm the tune's melancholy.

Pohjola's five other compositions are characterized by the same spacious and measured arrangements, and create similar soundscapes that meld moments of intense joy with periods of delicate sadness; each one a small masterpiece. Sadly, there's no indication as to which of the three bassists and three drummers play on each track—the rhythm sections are all magnificent, but it would be good to know exactly who was responsible for each tune.

"Colossus" is the closest the album comes to an upbeat groove, thanks to some exceptionally funky double-bass and percussion. Most delicate of all is "Spirit of S," which finds flautist Juhani Aaltonen at the fore, alongside Pohjola. The album closes with the quirky "At The End Of This Album," whose warm analogue sound and simple keyboard-led melody could serve as the finale to a '50s Western movie.

The album's only non-original is Joaquin Rodrigo's "Concierto de Aranjuez Amour." Pohjola is an avowed Miles Davis disciple, so the tune is not a surprising choice, but Pohjola's arrangement invests the tune with a sparse delicacy that is missing from Davis' own version on Sketches Of Spain (Columbia, 1960). Accompanied only by gently sparkling percussion and a simple but supportive double-bass, Pahjola's trumpet soars—until, just a minute or so from the end, he bows out abruptly, replaced by pianist Aki Rissanen.

Originally released by Finland's Texicalli Records in 2009, Aurora has now been taken up by Germany's ACT Music. The album is graced by another lovely ACT Music cover image, and by exceptional sound quality. In every sense, from the cover art to the production, the writing to the performances, it's a strikingly beautiful debut that emphatically establishes Pohjola as a potential international jazz star.

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
Read more articles
After Carnival

After Carnival

CDM Records
2012

buy
Live at Vision Festival

Live at Vision...

Re: Konstrukt
2012

buy
So Oder So

So Oder So

Self Produced
2012

buy
To My Surprise

To My Surprise

Consolidated Artists Productions
2012

buy
Leap In The Dark

Leap In The Dark

Intuition
2012

buy
Into The Open

Into The Open

Your Favourite Jazz
2012

buy

Related Articles

Read Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road CD/LP/Track Review
Lab 2018, The Rhythm of the Road
by Jack Bowers
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Live CD/LP/Track Review
Live
by Mike Jurkovic
Published: September 25, 2018
Read 8 Songs CD/LP/Track Review
8 Songs
by Roger Farbey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Facing Dragons CD/LP/Track Review
Facing Dragons
by Chris Mosey
Published: September 25, 2018
Read Brothers CD/LP/Track Review
Brothers
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: September 24, 2018
Read The Fearless Flyers CD/LP/Track Review
The Fearless Flyers
by John Bricker
Published: September 24, 2018
Read "Jazz In Movies" CD/LP/Track Review Jazz In Movies
by Dr. Judith Schlesinger
Published: September 16, 2018
Read "20" CD/LP/Track Review 20
by Jack Bowers
Published: July 20, 2018
Read "Transcendence" CD/LP/Track Review Transcendence
by Glenn Astarita
Published: August 27, 2018
Read "Blued Dharma" CD/LP/Track Review Blued Dharma
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: May 29, 2018
Read "Journey Moments" CD/LP/Track Review Journey Moments
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 8, 2018
Read "The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach" CD/LP/Track Review The 1960 Sessions with George Duvivier and Max Roach
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: November 1, 2017