462

Ilmiliekki Quartet at Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola

Budd Kopman By

Sign in to view read count
Ilmiliekki Quartet
Northern Lights Jazz Series
Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola
7:30 PM, October 9, 2006

The Ilmiliekki Quartet is a young, exciting group from Finland who are quite serious about creating an individual group sound through their compositions and improvisatory interactions. Soon to come out with a new album on TUM Records, the band mixed new tunes with those from their first album, March of the Alpha Males.

While the quartet is really a cooperative, its stage leader is trumpeter Verneri Pohjola who seemed quite natural in that role. However, the band really speaks with one voice as pianist Tuomo Prattala, bassist Antti Lotjonen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori worked together while each occasionally moved forward to take the spotlight.

Mixing original compositions with reworkings of tunes by Radiohead and Tom Waits, the band places a premium on free improvisation but within a framework that they, as a band, understand from working together for so long. The result sounded rehearsed, in that things seemed to happen in a predetermined order, but what happened within a given "section" was spontaneous. There was no battling between piano and trumpet during the sections when a driving groove was created, but maybe that was first-time-in-New-York nervousness. The rhythm section, anchored by Lotjonen, played with great authority, and I was particularly impressed with Louhivuori's drumming that almost never stopped, moving between the free and a wonderful groove when it was needed.

The members of the quartet, particularly Pohjola and Prattala, are gifted composers whose melodies combined beauty, pathos and that northern cool reserve. They really are romantics that have taken to heart the need to reach an audience by being accessible and yet not talk down to them. There is a classical clarity to the compositions that allowed for much drama, and the audience was enraptured. Indeed, if the set was a bit heavy on the side of the ballad, it is because their melodies are so beautiful and lend themselves to that kind of treatment.

In terms of influences, Tomasz Stanko was in the air, as was, surprisingly, Woody Shaw during the spot when they allowed themselves to take off. Bobo Stenson could also be heard, but also the whole ECM vibe of dramatic, classically influenced jazz from the north.

This is not to mean that the Ilmiliekki Quartet is merely imitative, but that they stand on the shoulders of giants, and can develop what is an obviously deep, sensitive talent, both individually and as a group, in the years ahead.

Shop

More Articles

Read Panama Jazz Festival 2017 Live Reviews Panama Jazz Festival 2017
by Mark Holston
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom Live Reviews Foundation of Funk at Cervantes Masterpiece Ballroom
by Geoff Anderson
Published: February 20, 2017
Read The Cookers at Nighttown Live Reviews The Cookers at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: February 16, 2017
Read Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens Live Reviews Monty Alexander Trio at Longwood Gardens
by Geno Thackara
Published: February 15, 2017
Read "Sari Kessler: Live At The Kitano" Live Reviews Sari Kessler: Live At The Kitano
by Tyran Grillo
Published: May 10, 2016
Read "Steven Wilson at Theatre St-Denis" Live Reviews Steven Wilson at Theatre St-Denis
by John Kelman
Published: March 12, 2016
Read "Ralph Peterson's Triangular III at Nighttown" Live Reviews Ralph Peterson's Triangular III at Nighttown
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 18, 2016
Read "Galway Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Galway Jazz Festival 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: October 31, 2016
Read "Penang Island Jazz Festival 2016" Live Reviews Penang Island Jazz Festival 2016
by Ian Patterson
Published: December 23, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!