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Musician

Juhani Aaltonen

Born:

"I feel that, both in my personal life and as a musician, I have often overcome the odds. Even some of the unlikeliest of my dreams and goals have come to pass, and music has always been the force to carry me through." And through the years that he has followed his calling Juhani Aaltonen has worked with all of the leading musicians in the burgeoning Nordic jazz scene from veteran Norwegians {{Jan Garbarek = 6937}} and {{Arild Andersen = 3417}} to the hottest of Finnish musical iconoclasts like {{Raoul Björkenheim}}.

Aaltonen’s first public appearance was in1957 with a local band led by trumpeter Heikki Rosendahl and he began to work as a free-lance musician in 1961. Initially he also studied at the classical flute at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki but soon stopped to work as a full-time jazz musician. The Finnish jazz scene in the 1960s was even more limited than the Danish and Swedish, but as a consequence cooperation between musicians from these countries became more extensive over the decade. By the end of the decade Aaltonen performed regularly with the Nordic All Stars led by trumpeter Palle Mikkelborg and a constellation of prominent Nordic artists, including Garbarek, Bertil Lögren and Terje Rypdal.

However it was with three fellow Finnish musicians, trumpeter Henrik Otto Donner, pianist Heikki Sarmanto, drummer {{ Edward Vesala = 11057}} that Aaltonen’s roots go deepest. More a composer than a trumpeter, Donner recognises that Aaltonen is his alter ego on the saxophone. Both men are of a more reflective disposition and, since their earliest cooperation in the nascent Finnish scene in Helsinki, both have been at home in the other’s orbit. The 2003 album of Donner’s compositions, Strings Revisited, shows that the two are still on the same wavelength. Pianist {{ Heikki Sarmanto = 4070}} is an even closer associate of Aaltonen’s, with the two producing over 30 albums under shared credits or Sarmanto’s name over the 40 years of their cooperation. During the 1990s, they worked extensively together on a number of concert tours and recordings of extended works, such as an eight-part suite for flute called Pan Fantasy and a composition for flute and piano titled Silver Spell. During this time Aaltonen also found time to perform and record two discs of religious music on Footprint Records.

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

From Tony Bennett to Mehmet Ali Sanlikol

Read "From Tony Bennett to Mehmet Ali Sanlikol" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


This show is a mixture of vocals, flutes, Middle Eastern jazz, and much more. Artists heard on the show include Mehmet Ali Sanlikol, Tony Bennett, Myra Melford, Lew Tabackin, and Cal Tjader. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from The Complete Novus & Columbia Recordings of Henry Threadgill & ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Thomas Chapin, Lara Solnicki, Vijay Iyer and More

Read "Thomas Chapin, Lara Solnicki, Vijay Iyer and More" reviewed by Jerome Wilson


From April 2021, this show features a lot of lesser-heard musicians such as Lara Solnicki, Rodrigo Faina, Juhani Aaltonen, and the late Thomas Chapin. There are also more familiar names in the mix such as Paul Motian, Vijay Iyer, and Tom Harrell. Playlist Henry Threadgill Sextett “I Can't Wait Till I Get Home" from ...

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Article: Live Review

Pori Jazz 2022

Read "Pori Jazz 2022" reviewed by Rob Garratt


Pori Jazz 2022 Kirjurinluoto Concert Park jny:Pori, Finland July 14-16, 2022 If this year's 55th annual Pori Jazz festival had a “moment," it was when Immanuel Wilkins invited Shabaka Hutchings to the stage as a surprise guest for a dazzling 14-minute duet that capped the former's spellbinding set, ...

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Article: Live Review

Raoul Björkenheim and eCsTaSy at Sello Hall in Espoo

Read "Raoul Björkenheim and eCsTaSy at Sello Hall in Espoo" reviewed by Anthony Shaw


Raoul Björkenheim and eCsTaSy with Juhani Aaltonen Sello Hall Espoo, Finland March 25, 2022 When guitarist Raoul Björkenheim and the rest of the all-Finnish eCsTaSy took the stage at the local arts venue in Espoo, the audience were still streaming into the the hall after the intermission--such ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Vanessa Perica, Immanuel Wilkins, Steve Cardenas & More New Releases

Read "Vanessa Perica, Immanuel Wilkins, Steve Cardenas & More New Releases" reviewed by Ludovico Granvassu


Spectacular debut releases by Vanessa Perica, Immanuel Wilkins and Micah Thomas; international and inter-generataional collaborations between Marcin Wasilewski and Joe Lovano, and among Juhani Aaltonen, Jonas Kullhammar, Christian Meaas Svendsen, Ilmari Heikinheimo; three bands, lead by Michael Wolff, Steve Cardenas and Dave Glasser, revolving around the thick and catchy pulse of Ben Allison's bass and much ...

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Article: Album Review

Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors & Barry Altschul: Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley

Read "Around Again: The Music Of Carla Bley" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan


At one time the Finnish pianist/harpist/composer Iro Haarla was best known as a collaborator of drummer Edward Vesala (1945-1999). Her own career blossomed in the new millennium, beginning with Penguin Beguine (TUM Records, 2005) followed by multiple releases on ECM and TUM Records, including Northbound (ECM, 2006), Vespers (ECM, 2011), Kirkastus (TUM, 2014), a daring duo ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Nicole Mitchell, Brom & Thomas Morelli-Bernard

Read "Nicole Mitchell, Brom & Thomas Morelli-Bernard" reviewed by Maurice Hogue


This episode features another of those wonderful bassists from Portugal: Carlos Bica. His latest release with his trio, Azul, makes its One Man's Jazz debut and an earlier album with Prima Matéria closes the show with a familiar melody. Nicole Mitchell's latest, Maroon Cloud, the German trio, Brom, and the latest instalment of Satoko Fujii's birthday ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Pedro Melo Alves, Rich Halley and more

Read "Pedro Melo Alves, Rich Halley and more" reviewed by Maurice Hogue


the sonorous tones of the double bass echo throughout this episode, highlighted by a double hit of Israeli bassist Shay Hazan with music from new releases by his quintet and sextet, Argentina's Juan Bayon as well as Tom Abbs, and Kyle Motl with Abbey Rader's West Coast Quartet. You'll hear tracks from new albums by Pedro ...

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Article: Radio & Podcasts

Tomasz Dabrowski, Thumbscrew and other new releases

Read "Tomasz Dabrowski, Thumbscrew and other new releases" reviewed by Maurice Hogue


Back in January 2018, for all intents and purposes, Cuneiform Records shut down most of their operation. A total reassessment of their position in the industry and the state of the industry itself were scheduled. Would they be back or not? Lo and behold, some months later they returned and we have to thank Mary Halvorson, ...


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