Make a difference: Support jazz online

Support All About Jazz Your friends at All About Jazz are looking for readers to help back our website upgrade project. Of critical importance, this project will result in a vastly improved design across all devices and will make future All About Jazz projects much easier to implement. Click here to learn more about this project including donation rewards.

401

Elifantree at Birdland, Helsinki

Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
Elifantree
Birdland
Helsinki, Finland
June 16, 2010

Birdland is the latest jazz venue to open in Helsinki, and as one can expect from a location that is as central as it is conventional, the fare is typically close to the middle of the road. However, in an attempt to woo an audience from outside this field Finland's entry to the 2008 Nordic Jazz Comets competition was invited to perform its usually enervated, intriguing brand of pop-jazz. The band, additionally, brings the kudos of having been voted 2009's Concert of the Year by Stuart Nicholson in The Wire.
A gig by Elifantree is an assault on the senses, but not only in the physical sense. The band comprises a saxophonist and a percussionist, both male and both well versed in the rigors of all-out testosterone sound, who are equally matched by a female, whose vocals dominate the band's ethos, as well as the surrounding ether.


Anni Elif Egecioglu is of Turkish and Swedish origin, and there is little in her initial demeanor that hints at her power. When her vocals commence, though, it's clear that an equal portion of the creative input is hers, if not disproportionately so. She is the band's point of access with the audience, and with her songs of recriminations, aspirations and intentions, she evokes at the same time the sounds and subtleties of Joni Mitchell as well as the passion and intensity of Janis Joplin: on the one hand, begging and beseeching and, on the other, wailing and whispering. Her style can be operatic or intimate but, as often, is more shamanistic, leading the band in its slowly building, convoluted musical trances.
The trio's sound is highly rhythmic, with Pauli Lyytinen's sax chucking out blips like an inspired Morse-code operator, and Timo Rönkkö pounding his drum set with demonic precision, while Egecioglu sways and slaps her thighs in a shaky delirium. But the tunes evolve through equally pastoral vistas when the glockenspiel takes center-stage and the drums become a rattle of tinkling tin, or Egecioglu picks up her cello. Even the lime-green, harmonically moaning, whirling plastic tube "instrument" seems to blend effortlessly with their soundscape.

The songs, however, are central to Elifantree's show. Words bubble from Egecioglu like a child's dreamtale, not always intelligible but fully charged with emotion. The experience is almost gestalt in its extremes of both power and delicacy, something of an aural hallucination. Despite this potential weirdness it seems to make sense, even if the audience under the photos of Parker, Monk and company looked pretty perplexed at times. But isn't this what one pays for in a jazz club— at least once in a while?

Tags

Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Never Alone: Reflections on the 2018 Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Never Alone: Reflections on the 2018 Winter Jazzfest
by Tyran Grillo
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center Live Reviews Tierney Sutton Band at the Newman Center
by Geoff Anderson
Published: January 21, 2018
Read Vorcza at Nectar's Live Reviews Vorcza at Nectar's
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner Live Reviews Rossano Sportiello Trio at The Jazz Corner
by Martin McFie
Published: January 20, 2018
Read Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms Live Reviews Jazztopad 2017: Concerts In Living Rooms
by Martin Longley
Published: January 17, 2018
Read Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC Winter Jazzfest Live Reviews Lean On Me: José James Celebrates Bill Withers @ NYC...
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 15, 2018
Read "Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café" Live Reviews Kurt Rosenwinkel at Chris’ Jazz Café
by Victor L. Schermer
Published: January 2, 2018
Read "Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2017" Live Reviews Pittsburgh JazzLive International Festival 2017
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: June 24, 2017
Read "Tony Bennett at Birmingham Symphony Hall" Live Reviews Tony Bennett at Birmingham Symphony Hall
by David Burke
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne" Live Reviews Keith Oxman Quartet at Nocturne
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: March 19, 2017