204

Nuijamiehet: Nuijamiehet

Matthew Wuethrich By

Sign in to view read count
Nuijamiehet: Nuijamiehet The terms "Scandinavian" and "Nordic" (synonyms for the purpose of this review) jazz usually conjure up thoughts of ECM's echoey production, Jan Garbarek's atmospheric sax musings and pastoral landscapes. Yet that definition is rather limited and more than a bit quaint. Finland's Nuijamiehet describes their sound as "Scandinavian", but the music on their Fiasko Records debut forces one to expand their idea of the "Nordic" sound. Sure, they retain the roomy sound and the chilly distance, but they also add groove, humor and gritty, from-the-gut-playing.

Nuijamiehet presents a varied set of compositions, for all members except drummer Mika Kallio contribute originals. Each member has a distinctive personality, in both their playing and writing. Saxophonist Mikko Innanen pens the most playful and rhythmic tunes. His "If I had a Rope..." toys with a tantalizing blues. The players merely sketch a rough outline of the blues, as if they are content to converse back and forth, commenting wryly on the others' ideas. Innanen's baritone sax work here displays command of the instrument's range; deep growls, supple phrases and breathy percussive tones are all part of his ideas. Lindgren and Kallio keep a furious tempo on Innanen's "Loch Lommond", making a wall of roiling rhythm. Instead of trying to keep up, Kalima and Innanen prefer to punctuate with choppy, forceful phrases.

Kalima's compositions give the players angular melodies and quiet dynamics to work with, but do not lack in intensity or groove either. On "Elohopea" the quartet sounds like Chico Hamilton's Quintet with Gabor Szabo, yet looser and more dynamic. Lindgren's bass work provides delicious counterpoint to Innanen's soprano sax. Lindgren again shines on "Kelju Kukko", playing a line of elastic funkiness that recalls Ron Carter's subtle work on "Freedom Jazz Dance". He and Kallio play with such command and touch that their overflowing ideas are not immediately apparent.

The quartet's restrained emotional intensity comes out on Lindgren's delicate ballads, "Jääkristalli" and "Psalm". Innanen and Kalima shape the melodies with quiet force, while Lindgren and Kallio color in the rhythm with the same imagination they use for the more energetic tunes. These compositions are maybe the most stereotypically "Scandinavian" but that does not lessen their sensitive, contemplative impact.

Stylistic pigeonholing is a double-edged sword-convenient for the critic but constraining for the artist-I would posit that Nuijamiehet's "Scandinavian" style is really more of a filter: traditional styles and moods are absorbed, channeled through the players' own backgrounds and then expressed as their own multi-faceted, and exciting, vision.


Track Listing: 1.Elohopea 2.Taikatytt

Personnel: Mikko Innanen, soprano, alto and baritone saxophones Kalle Kalima, electric and acoustic guitars Lasse Lindgren, acoustic bass guitar Mika Kallio, drums

Year Released: 2000 | Record Label: Fiasko Records | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture CD/LP/Track Review The Angel and the Brute Sing Songs of Rapture
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Coldest Second Yesterday CD/LP/Track Review Coldest Second Yesterday
by John Sharpe
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Follow Your Heart CD/LP/Track Review Follow Your Heart
by Mark Corroto
Published: February 25, 2017
Read The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door CD/LP/Track Review The Sound of Surprise: Live at the Side Door
by Edward Blanco
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Chicago II CD/LP/Track Review Chicago II
by Doug Collette
Published: February 25, 2017
Read Over the Rainbow CD/LP/Track Review Over the Rainbow
by Paul Rauch
Published: February 24, 2017
Read "South Beat" CD/LP/Track Review South Beat
by Edward Blanco
Published: September 6, 2016
Read "Flow" CD/LP/Track Review Flow
by Karl Ackermann
Published: August 2, 2016
Read "Countdown" CD/LP/Track Review Countdown
by Doug Collette
Published: September 17, 2016
Read "Apprentice" CD/LP/Track Review Apprentice
by Alex Franquelli
Published: October 29, 2016
Read "Behind the Vibration" CD/LP/Track Review Behind the Vibration
by Mark F. Turner
Published: May 29, 2016
Read "Instants Of Time" CD/LP/Track Review Instants Of Time
by Hrayr Attarian
Published: March 4, 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!