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Articles by Anthony Shaw


Mopo: Mopocalypse

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Mopo, the Finnish trio from Helsinki, have now been on the scene since 2009, and since 2011 winning their selection round for the Young Nordic Comets competition, have been performing their brand of quirky and frequently funky jazz around Europe. Their fourth full length album continues their punk inspired attitude to music making with eight tracks of largely energetic hard jazz. The first tracks “Tökkö" and “My Best Friend" feature Eero Tikkanen playing an elderly electric bass, creating ...


We Jazz Festival 2017

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We Jazz Festival Helsinki, Finland December 2-9, 2017 Being a party animal at latitudes above 60 degrees takes some doing in the winter months, in Anchorage as in Archangel. Helsinki is south of both cities, just, but is host to one of Scandinavia's hottest and yet coldest modern jazz festivals in the region. Maybe it's because of the adversity of the climate, but surely equally due to the enlightened determination of the festival ...


Olli Ahvenlahti: Thinking, Whistling

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When Mose Allison wrote in 1958 that 'a young man ain't got nothing in the world these days' he was probably not intending to make a philosophical statement--more a question of power politics. But now(adays) the line now suggests something else to me. I think neither Roger Daltrey nor I thought about it this way, at least until I stumbled on Olli Ahvenlahti's latest release. He stated in a recent interview that for him jazz consists of melody, ...


3TM: Form

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Teppo Mäkynen has been playing the Scandinavian jazz circuit for well over 20 years, typically as the drummer in the company of the Five Corners Quintet (which itself grew out of Nuspirit Helsinki), where he also partnered the featured bassist here, Antti Lötjönen. In this line up he was playing a type of post-bop acoustic jazz, but with an emphasis on danceability. This latest album is something of a return to an earlier interest in electronica (hear 2003 released Smelly ...


Jukka Eskola: Soul Trio

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Jukka Eskola is a Finnish trumpeter, well known among Scandinavian audiences particularly from his membership of the now inactive but well loved Five Corners Quintet. In fact despite the band's title, only four of the ten tracks on offer here feature only the Trio, and of the rest two actually feature a majority of the Quintet's members. With the addition of Ville Herrala on bass and Magnus Lindgren on flute, playing 'Railyard Boogie' the band sounds very ...


April Jazz Festival in Espoo, Finland

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April Jazz Espoo, Finland April 26-30, 2017 April in southern Finland is a time of rapidly lengthening daylight and often crystalline blue skies heralding spring. This year though relentless gray skies and bitter winds made the appeal of a long weekend of top class jazz an even stronger motivation to ignore the lingering patches of snow and get on with life, and art. The program for the 31st year celebrating jazz in this ...


Papanosh: A Chicken in a Bottle

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Papanosh originate in the northern French city of Rouen and have been together over 10 years. This second CD of somewhat discordant, deconstructed hard bop is another example of their concept of an imagined folklore, a new musical tradition created together by musicians and listeners in their shared synergy. It involves widely varied music that, with its sudden twists and surprises, seems at times to be being played with five tongues in five respective cheeks. With most melodies revolving ...


Sväng: Hauptbahnhof

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From the outset, Sväng's eighth album Hauptbahnhof evokes a bygone age of often gilded life, leisured strolls, and acoustic instrumentation. Or is it just the evocative sound of their four harmonicas that immediately conjures marching men, wartime truces and so forth? In any case this album of idiosyncratic tunes, and one song, does more than its best to show that four professionals with their combined harmonic range of over six octaves, can take the harmonica anywhere on the musical spectrum. ...


Equally Stupid: Escape from The Unhappy Society

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This second album by Equally Stupid sees the same transnational crew of three gents working in the same vein as their first Exploding Head, blending Rögnvaldsson's astringent guitar with saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen's this time more mellow tenor. David Meier is still holding things together with a strong physicality behind the drums, but from the cover onwards there's obviously a major change of style. I wonder if they have been listening to John Cale or Arvo Pert as ...


We Jazz Festival 2016

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We Jazz Festival 2016 Multiple venues Helsinki, Finland December 4-11, 2016 The winter We Jazz 'event' has been running for four years now, and founding mentor Matti Nives is somewhat challenged to find suitable new venues to take his artists to, having established a tradition of taking jazz to improbable places. These have included private flats, far-flung small venues as well as traditional medium sized concert halls in Helsinki. Despite these precedents, this year ...