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.

1

Helsinki Festival 2016

Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
Love Proge
Helsinki Festival (Huvila Tent)
Helsinki, Finland
August 28, 2016

Richard Thompson couldn't have said it better than he wrote in Fairport Convention's first major single Meet on the Ledge: If you really mean it, it all comes round again. That was in 1968, two years after three central players in the Finnish music scene, including the jazz trumpeter and impresario Henrik Otto Donner, set up the label that was to be the flagship of Finnish experimental progressive rock and jazz, Love.

Many of the movers from that time, from Edward Vesala to Pekka Pohjola and Pekka Streng have long since passed away, but their music still lives vividly in the consciousness of.a whole generation of aging arts activists, as well as an important group of current young Finnish composers, musicians and of course listeners. Although these have not had the honor of recording on Love, they are thoroughly familiar with the bands who did, who were in their time the cream of students from the Finnish musical fraternity. This evening dedicated to this sparsely known Nordic label included surviving members from the era, as well as a raft of young talent from the vastly expanded pool of current young talent, playing what Finns call 'proge' (rhyming with fog-eh).

In fact one has to consider this pool to be rather an extended metaphor, since in addition to organist Jukka Gustavson, a founder member of Pohjola's own initial flagship Wigwam, other participants in this evening of cut back, analogue based, revival rock are themselves no longer the latest generation musicians. Singer Emma Salokoski has been on the local rock, jazz and even pop scene for nearly 20 years, joining the band early evening to perform songs by 1970s pioneers Tasavallinen Presidentti and troubadour Streng, excelling in her version of the latter's "Puutarha" (Garden). Also drummer Sami Kuoppamäki has a history starting with 1990s renowned acid rockers Kingston Wall, and continuing through the years with a host of stellar Finnish acts, including metal rockers Apocalyptica and Stratovarius and experimental accordionist Kimmo Pohjonen.

The most adamant carrier of the prog banner in Finland however is current Stratovarius bassist Lauri Porra, whose flowing locks and flapping bell bottoms could easily have placed him alongside any 60s star, and whose musical skills immediately prompt comparisons with Jaco Pastorius. In Finland he is currently something of a celebrity himself, since in addition to touring with his main band he is both an active composer for the burgeoning Finnish film industry. More topically, Porra was the main mover behind this summer's Helsinki Festival's opening concert, Omniwerk, an adventurous celebration of medieval instrumentation, involving a full symphony orchestra and a rapper! Indeed, while youthful musicians like Porra are able to put their energies into projects such as these this, formerly iconoclastic music like 'proge' has a future on more than just that ledge.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon Live Reviews NYC Winter Jazzfest 2018 - The Friday Marathon
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: January 22, 2018
Read Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery Live Reviews Nels and Alex Cline at The Jazz Bakery
by Jonathan Manning
Published: January 22, 2018
Read David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club Live Reviews David Lyttle & Andreas Varady at Bennigans Jazz Club
by Ian Patterson
Published: January 22, 2018
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 "Vossajazz 2017" Live Reviews Vossajazz 2017
by Ian Patterson
Published: April 23, 2017
Read "T.S. Monk Sextet at Revolution Hall" Live Reviews T.S. Monk Sextet at Revolution Hall
by Tom Borden and Eric Gibbons
Published: March 10, 2017
Read "Pat Martino at Dazzle" Live Reviews Pat Martino at Dazzle
by Douglas Groothuis
Published: September 2, 2017
Read "Bobby Hutcherson tribute at SFJAZZ Center" Live Reviews Bobby Hutcherson tribute at SFJAZZ Center
by David Becker
Published: January 24, 2017
Read "Wayne Shorter Quartet at SFJAZZ" Live Reviews Wayne Shorter Quartet at SFJAZZ
by Harry S. Pariser
Published: May 2, 2017