Dear All About Jazz Readers,

If you're familiar with All About Jazz, you know that we've dedicated over two decades to supporting jazz as an art form, and more importantly, the creative musicians who make it. Our enduring commitment has made All About Jazz one of the most culturally important websites of its kind in the world reaching hundreds of thousands of readers every month. However, to expand our offerings and develop new means to foster jazz discovery we need your help.

You can become a sustaining member for a modest $20 and in return, we'll immediately hide those pesky Google ads PLUS deliver exclusive content and provide access to future articles for a full year! This combination will not only improve your AAJ experience, it will allow us to continue to rigorously build on the great work we first started in 1995. Read on to view our project ideas...

156

UMO Jazz Orchestra: Sauna Palaa!

Jack Bowers By

Sign in to view read count
In Finland, world-class big band jazz is spelled UMO. The country's premier large ensemble, now ably conducted by Kirmo Lintinen, has been defining big band jazz with a Scandinavian accent for more than three decades. The group's latest album, Sauna Palaa!, encompasses seven original compositions by as many Finnish composers (including one by Lintinen) inspired by the works of the nineteenth century Finnish writer Aleksis Kivi and his most famous book, The Seven Brothers.

The album's title, which translates into English as "the sauna is on fire, is perhaps slightly misleading, as the seven charts smolder more often than burn, but that's a subjective appraisal, as one man's brush fire is another's inferno, and less heat may be required to warm the ice-bound Finns than those who reside in a more temperate climate.

Having said that, it should be noted that each of the charts is well-written and marvelously played, and that there are some fireworks along the way, especially in Eero Ojanen's powerful "Kivi Palaa, Eero Koivistoinen's throbbing "Stenvall" and Jarmo Savolainen's boisterous "Kuu Ulvoo." Ensemble passages on every number are expressive and tasteful, soloists (none of whom is named) strong and articulate.

Beyond that, the music is hard to describe, as it blends Finnish folk themes and Scandinavian concepts with contemporary jazz to produce a medley that is sometimes out of the ordinary, at least to my ears, but never less than absorbing. In other words, it may not be Basie, Herman or even Ellington, but it's definitely jazz, with persuasive melodies, harmonies and rhythms, not to mention improvisation of a high order. UMO remains the class of Finnish big bands, and even though Selected Standards remains my favorite album by the orchestra, Sauna Palaa! is impressive in its own way, and has much to offer the more discerning listener.

Track Listing: Otava; Kivi Palaa; Kalvean Immen Tarina; Stenvall; Kuu Ulvoo; Kivelle; Simeoni (73:51).

Personnel: Kirmo Lintinen: conductor; Jan Kohlin, Timo Paasonen, Mikko Pettinen, Tero Saarti: trumpet; Pentti Lahti, Olli Ojaj

Title: Sauna Palaa! | Year Released: 2006 | Record Label: UMOCD

Tags

comments powered by Disqus

Shop for Music

Start your music shopping from All About Jazz and you'll support us in the process. Learn how.

Related Articles

Read Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances Album Reviews
Hastings Jazz Collective/Shadow Dances
By Dan McClenaghan
May 21, 2019
Read Crowded Heart Album Reviews
Crowded Heart
By Nicholas F. Mondello
May 21, 2019
Read That's a Computer Album Reviews
That's a Computer
By Jerome Wilson
May 21, 2019
Read All I Do Is Bleed Album Reviews
All I Do Is Bleed
By Paul Naser
May 21, 2019
Read LE10 18-05 Album Reviews
LE10 18-05
By Karl Ackermann
May 20, 2019
Read Remembering Miles Album Reviews
Remembering Miles
By Dan McClenaghan
May 20, 2019
Read Merry Peers Album Reviews
Merry Peers
By Bruce Lindsay
May 20, 2019