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Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio: Clustrophy

Eyal Hareuveni By

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This is modern European jazz at its finest. Bold and inventive, smart and informative, ironic, funny but also sad and melancholic, the highly engaging Clustrophy addresses the rich jazz legacy on both sides of the Atlantic, without being bound to any specific style or genre.

Finnish reed player Mikko Innanen has gained experience as a charismatic and articulate composer, improviser and leader with musicians from the Nordic arena, as well as from New York's downtown scene. Innkvistio is his vehicle for exploring adventurous musical concepts and, for its second incarnation—following Paa-da-pap (TUM, 2007)—this meeting of three distinctive horn voices, along with vintage, otherworldly electronic sounds and a modest yet effective drummer, gives the ensemble its unique sound and strong character.

Innanan has developed a unique and highly personal language as a composer and player. The opening track, with its core Finnish trio, already suggests Innkvistio's mechanism: a propulsive percussive sound that offer a solid base; weird Sun Ra-like synthesizers sounds that push the musical envelope; and, and above it all, solos constructed by the reed players. This musical puzzle falls in place in an arresting manner—often when combining odd references, as on "Vraa-Tender," where a Japanese scale is linked to a harmonic line from Billy Strayhorn's school, or the title track , where a swinging 18-bar jangled theme nods to Thelonious Monk.

"A Panoramic View from the Top Floor" is a cinematic, dreamlike suite that blossoms slowly and features Fredrik Ljungkvist on clarinet and drummer Joonas Riippa as its soloists. An inventive and rhythmic baritone sax solo by Innanen on "Underground" serves as an introduction to the pulse-driven "The Grey Adler Returns Again," an extension of Innanen composition from this ensemble's debut. The rhythm is used here as counterpoint to the melodic segments, with alternated solos by Ljungkvist (on tenor sax), and Innanen and Daniel Erdmann, both on baritone sax. "757" is the most in-the-tradition composition, with its laidback groove and powerful straight-ahead tenor solos from Innanen and Ljungkvist. The set's most beautiful composition is the melancholic "Ardennes at Dawn," written for three clarinets (Innanen on Indian wooden clarinet), and featuring Riippa and keyboardist Seppo Kantonen coloring its simple melody with great sensitivity.

Track Listing: Earth's Second Moon (3753 Cruthine); Vraa-Tender; Clustrophy: A Panoramic View from the Top Floor; Underground; The Grey Adler Retrurns Again; Ardenees at Dawn; Jantaraboon II; Detto the Magician: 757; Jam Afane.

Personnel: Mikko Innanen: alto, baritone and soprano saxophones, Indian wooden clarinet, percussion, whistles, toy instruments; Fredrik Ljungkvist: tenor and sopranino saxophones, clarinet; Daniel Erdmann: tenor, baritone and soprano saxophones, toy clarinet ; Seppo Kantonen synthesizers; Joonas Riippa drums, percussion, pocket trumpet.

Title: Clustrophy | Year Released: 2011 | Record Label: TUM Records


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