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Pekka Pylkk: Pekka

C. Michael Bailey By

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The Contemporary Wisdom. No moss grows on Naxos Jazz. After addressing Mainstream, Hard Bop, Vocal, and Big Band Jazz, the label has firmly turned its attention to Contemporary Jazz with the releases of Pekka Pylkkänen’s Pekka’s Tube Factory (Putkipaja) and Sonic Fiction’s Changing With The Times.

The Tube Factory. Taking time off as a member of the UMO Jazz Orchestra, Pekka Pylkkänen makes his leader debut with a sleek ride. On Pekka’s Tube Factory (Putkipaja), Pylkkänen composed all of the pieces, each a mixed bag of mood, rhythms, and tempos. Most representative of this is “See How She Sleeps”, which starts with a lilting, almost tropical introduction by pianist Seppo Kantonen, but absolutely rocks in the middle with Marko Timonen’s drumming driving a dirty electric guitar solo by the clever Pekka Luukka. Pylkkänen is comfortable with his variety of reeds. He shows his naked ability on the solo saxophone piece that closes the disc, a piece dedicated to his wife, Oona.

The overall mood of Pekka’s Tube Factory (Putkipaja) is a light Latin-Islands motif stirred electronically with contemporary saxophone etiquette a lá Grover Washington. It is mostly complex, understated music that rarely gets rowdy. Fans of The Yellowjackets and the Rippingtons should like this music as they should Sonic Fiction’s Changing With The Times.

Boom. Where Pekka Pylkkänen composed and performed a soothing, well-prepared brand of contemporary jazz, a great and mostly gentle sound, Sonic Fiction enters the picture like they are taking control of an occupied territory. California vibraphonist Daryl Pratt formed Sonic Fiction in 1993 with Aussies Adam Armstrong (bass) and Andrew Gander (drums) after having moved to Australia 8 years earlier. After several guitar players, the three were finally joined by James Muller in 1997, completing the current line up.

The sound of Changing With The Times is characterized by the novel combination of the vibes and marimba with the electric guitar, kissing one another during the head lines and playfully pulling and pushing one another during solos and bridges. The composition and performance is meticulous and swinging. In addition to the guitar-vibe combination, the disc rests on a multirhythmic foundation propelled by drummer Gander and quest percussionist Phil South. Bassist Armstrong proves a Jedi on both acoustic and electric bass. The end result is very smart contemporary jazz. Just check out the title cut, the minor blues, “Ringing Changes”, and the bluesy, walking “The Greenway”

Pekka’s Tube Factory (Putkipaja) and Changing With The Times are very obtainable contemporary jazz offerings, both with respect to price and aesthetics. These discs would appeal to die-hard contemporary fans and new listeners alike and should be more attractive because of the reasonable price.

Track Listing (Pekka’s Tube Factory):Akseli and the 11th Dream; 13 Seagulls; The Strawberry-Tree; Fungi (Gyromitra Esculenta); See How She Sleeps; Sans Blagues (No Kidding); Le Petit Pingouin, Oona (Total Playing Time 58:42).

Personnel (Pekka’s Tube Factory):Pekka Pylkkänen: Saxophones, Flute, Bass clarinet; Lao Reed; Mouth Organ; Pekka Luukka: Guitars; Seppo Kantonen: Keyboards, piano; Hannu Rantanen: Bass; Marko Timonen: Drums; Tapio “Mongo” Aaltonen: Percussion.

Track Listing ( Changing With The Times ):Finlayson St. 7; Changing With the Times; ringing Changes; the Greenway; 35 Today; The Rest; Dark Prelude; Mind Games; Remember; Tower; Street Scene (Total Playing Time 60:00).

Personnel ( Changing With The Times ):Daryl Pratt: Vibraphone, midi vibes, Noah bells; James Muller: Guitar; Adam Armstrong: Acoustic and electric Basses; Andrew gander: Drums; Phil South: Marimba, Acoustic and Electric Percussion.


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