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Chasin' The Jazz Gone By is the product of producer Tuomas Kallio, who wanted to recreate, using both analog and digital equipment, the sound and the visceral coolness of jazz from the 1950s and 1960s, which means the Blue Note sound of hard bop. And make no mistake, this record is very, very cool, deeply enjoyable in an almost time-warp way.
The Five Corners Quintet actually exists in two forms, live and recorded. The live group routinely plays to large crowds and gets them out of their seats, playing with total commitment, energy and abandon, as happened at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola in June, 2007. Driven by the unstoppable energy of drummer Teppo Makynen, the group had the crowd in the palms of their hands.
The studio version of the group adds the famous (at least in Finnish jazz circles) saxophonist Eero Koivistoinen, a super vibraphonist, Severi Pyysalo, and pianist Kim Rantala, among other guest players including singer Mark Murphy. The sound is deliberately hazy and a bit distantas if recorded in a club, complete with background crowd soundsand this might take some listeners aback when compared to the crystal clarity of today's studio aesthetic.
Once into the record though, the shock disappears and the many cool grooves take over. The vocals, both of Murphy and the sexy sounding Okou, have the nostalgic smokiness of a true night club, with white table cloths, real Martinis and a dance floor. This is followed by "Trading Eights," which practically forces you to get up and move, or at the very least, to keep time with some part of your body as your mind's eye can see the performers on stage in a spotlight.
The boogaloo of "Straight Up" will give goose bumps to fans of saxophonist Lou Donaldson as the drums bubble beneath the bass and piano, supporting a killer solo by trumpeter Jukka Eskola, followed by Koivistoinen's saxophone.
"Three Corners" is in three and the shimmering vibes will take you away as you sway in time. Highly dramatic, dark, mysterious and very cool, the music, played with authority and meaning by the band, just takes over. On the other hand, the sheer drive of "Lighthouse" sweeps away everything before it, until "The Devil Kicks" takes things even higher.
Through it all, the astute listener who is familiar with this music will notice the classy production quality that has been applied over the sound. This modern feel keeps Chasin' The Jazz Gone By from being too closely tied to the past; it updates the feel and allowes new ears to get inside this wonderful music.
Track Listing: Blue Cycles; Trading Eights; Interlope; This Could Be The Start Of Something; Straight Up; Three Corners; Case Study; Lighthouse; Before We Say Goodbye; Unsquare Bossa; The Devil Kicks; Jamming (With Mr. Hoagland).
Personnel: Mark Murphy: vocals (4,9,12); Okou: vocals (1,7); Eero Koivistoinen: tenor saxophone (2,5,6,8,11); Timo Lassy: tenor saxophone (4,7,12), baritone saxophone (1,7,10), flute; Jukka Eskola: trumpet, flugelhorn; Severi Pyysalo: vibes (1,4,6, 10,11); Mikael Jakobsson: piano (1,4,7,12); Kim Rantala: piano (2,5-7,9,11), organ; Antti Lotjonen: bass; Tapani Nevalainen: bass (2,6,11); Teppo Makynen: drums, percussion; Pekka Jaclin: drums & percussion (2,6,11); Abdissa Assefa: percussion (4,5,12); Maria Daroczy: violin; Eeva Salminen: violin; Elina Kuronen: violin; Paulina Anttila: violin; Emilia Markkanen: violin; Ake Jarvinen: violin; Matti Lindholm: viola; Sini Holopainen: viola; Samuli Hyvarinen: cello; Borje Holopainen: cello; Lalli Koylio: French horn; Keikki S. Tikkanen: French horn.
As a kid, my mom told me I'd like jazz. I thought she was nuts. Then I went to hear Cannonball Adderley (with Nat Adderley, George Duke, Walter Booker, Roy McCurdy and Airto) and everything changed. Yeah, mom knows best.