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MUSICIAN Born:

Juhani Aaltonen

"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.

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 ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

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 ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

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 ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

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, ...

ARTICLE: RADIO

James Hall More: Than Just a Trombone

Read "James Hall More: Than Just a Trombone" reviewed by Nick Davies

This show features an interview with trombonist James Hall where we discuss his new album Lattice which is out on Outside in Music as well as other hot topics. We also follow the theme of good music so expect to hear all types of jazz featuring the likes of Miles Davis and Chick Corea

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Adrean Farrugia/Joel Frahm: Blued Dharma

Read "Blued Dharma" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Blued Dharma, a duet outing by pianist Adrean Farrugia and tenor and soprano saxophonist Joel Frahm, opens with the title tune, a simpatico, lighter-than-air composition. The instrumentalists banter and extemporize, bat ideas back and forth and explore melodic main roads and sideroads. So it is for the full album of inspired interplay. Having played ...

ARTICLE: INTERVIEW

Mauro Bardusco - Direttore Artistico di Jazz & Wine Of Peace Festival

Read "Mauro Bardusco - Direttore Artistico di Jazz & Wine Of Peace Festival" reviewed by Neri Pollastri

Il festival Jazz & Wine of Peace di Cormòns, in provincia di Gorizia, è una delle rassegne nazionali di maggior successo, cresciuto negli ultimi anni a dismisura certo anche grazie all'unione degli spettacoli con il vino -Cormòns si trova nel Collio Friulano, ove si producono alcuni dei migliori bianchi d'Italia -ma in primo luogo in virtù ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

Verneri Pohjola: Pekka

Read "Pekka" reviewed by Karl Ackermann

Finnish multi-instrumentalist Pekka Pohjola was a classically trained pianist and violinist but known best as a bassist in his native country. The proponent of a unique fusion of jazz, progressive rock and classical music, his work had elements of Frank Zappa, King Crimson and Antonín Dvořák, sometimes all within a single composition. Pohjola died while only ...

ARTICLE: ALBUM REVIEW

David Bennett Thomas: Deeper Journey

Read "Deeper Journey" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

Pianist David Bennett Thomas takes inspiration from God's word. Not unlike Finish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla, on her beautiful duet set Kirkastus (TUM Records, 2015), with saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen, where Biblical Psalms informed the music, Thomas' Deeper Journey goes to the Bible for inspiration on half the tunes on this meticulously crafted, subtle--yet modern and adventurous--set of ...


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