Learn How

We need your help in 2018

Support All About Jazz All About Jazz is looking for 1,000 backers to help fund our 2018 projects that directly support jazz. You can make this happen by purchasing ad space or by making a donation to our fund drive. In addition to completing every project (listed here), we'll also hide all Google ads and present exclusive content for a full year!

2

Pori Jazz Festival: Pori, Finland, July 19-21, 2012

Pori Jazz Festival: Pori, Finland, July 19-21, 2012
Anthony Shaw By

Sign in to view read count
Pori Jazz Festival
uLTRA mUSIC nIGHTS
Pori, Finland
July 19-21, 2012

On a scale of 1-10, summertime activity in the capital of this northerly European nation barely registers a "1," whilst in the normally sleepy western coastal town of Pori it is topping out for the penultimate week of July. It's the annual Pori Jazz Festival. Along with over 1,000 local voluntary helpers, there were about 140,000 visitors this year attending about 120 concerts, of which almost 70% were free. And on top of this there was a whole week of children's activities and concerts involving over 20,000 kids with over 2,000 performing.

As ever, the festival proper sees a collection of major international artists, often on extended European summer tours, alongside a strong showing of Finnish musicians, vying for a slice of the attention. Ever since 17-year old saxophonist Jukka Perko stepped up beside trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie in 1986, the chance of international exposure has kept this festival among the top favorites for aspiring local professionals. However, the photos on the official program showed exclusively the roster of international artists, from Paul Anka and Norah Jones to UK star and Simon Cowell favorite Emeli Sandé and New York's Estelle (Fanta Swaray). These continue to pull in the Finnish audiences who transform this old harbor town into a hub of fun and festivity for the whole country in mid-July.

With accession to the organizational committee of Helsinki producer and jazz DJ Markus Partanen, the strength of the contribution by jazz musicians has been underscored, and inevitably Finnish artists predominate. Among those appearing again at Pori Jazz were veteran swing reedist Antii Sarpila, saxophonists Manuel Dunkel and Timo Lassy, pianist Jukka Uotila, trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and "action-jazz," little big-band, Auteur Jazz. Six of the nine evenings at the riverside Café Jazz were sold out, and even the nearby church had standing room only for a return performance by Perko. On less auspicious stages were street performers Elonkorjuu, and the banner-waving, pseudo agit-prop-styled Bad Ass Brass Band, as well as a host of other entertaining and engaging artists.

Alongside these mainstream artists the festival has continued to support music for fringe tastes, now located at a venue tucked into the small stage beside the classic Pori Town Theater, and known as the uLTRA mUSIC nIGHTS. Run by a French immigrant, producer Charles Gil, this program always sees a backbone of experimental and free jazz bands, both Finnish as well as a selection of foreign acts. This year the focus was more on Mediterranean sounds than earlier years' Gallic attack, but the principle of breadth of appeal here was reflected in a wide range of style and sound, as well as nationality.

Evening One

For the first evening of "Tinissima and Olavi Night," Francesco Bearzatti brought the full force of Mediterranean frenzy to this sweaty theater space. Although his Tinissima Quartet is fronted by the reedist and composer Bearzatti, equally active was the frenzied trumpet and personality of Giovanni Falzone. The first of the evening's excitement was dedicated to and named after one of Bearzatti's mentors, political activist Malcom X. Both lead musicians used a full assortment of acoustic as well as occasional electronic effects to add color, but the thrust of the performance was the eyeball-to-eyeball interaction between these two 'brothers in sound.' In addition to fluid and harmonized performances, both players also attacked their instruments with flair and imagination, using both ends and all orifices of their instruments and trading as many comments, musical and spoken, between each other as well as with the audience. Bassist Danilo Gallo also used an electronic pallet, but his primary role was to support the front men with rolling, rock styled riffs over Zeno de Rossi's sensitive and inspired drumming.

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Ostrava Days 2017 Live Reviews Ostrava Days 2017
by Martin Longley
Published: November 23, 2017
Read Diane Schuur at Birdland Live Reviews Diane Schuur at Birdland
by Tyran Grillo
Published: November 20, 2017
Read Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront Live Reviews Pat Metheny at Belfast Waterfront
by Ian Patterson
Published: November 19, 2017
Read Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor Live Reviews Crosscurrents at the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: November 15, 2017
Read "Keystone Korner 45th Anniversary Celebration" Live Reviews Keystone Korner 45th Anniversary Celebration
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 6, 2017
Read "An Evening with Pat Metheny at The Barre Opera House" Live Reviews An Evening with Pat Metheny at The Barre Opera House
by Doug Collette
Published: January 20, 2017
Read "WAR with Malo At Stern Grove" Live Reviews WAR with Malo At Stern Grove
by Walter Atkins
Published: August 27, 2017
Read "Impressions of Monterey Jazz Festival 2017: MJF At 60" Live Reviews Impressions of Monterey Jazz Festival 2017: MJF At 60
by Walter Atkins
Published: October 6, 2017
Read "Rigas Ritmi 2017" Live Reviews Rigas Ritmi 2017
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: July 12, 2017

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!

Please support out sponsor