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Ilmiliekki: Take It with Me

Mark F. Turner By

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It has been said that it is not important where the music comes from, but where the music takes you. That said, it is of interest that some of today's most interesting jazz is coming out of Finland. The Finnish Ilmiliekki Quartet is a group of young and outstanding artists, and Take It with Me is a creative, ambitious, intimate and down-to-earth work of composition and inventiveness that makes you think and not just react to the music.

The group's primary soloists, trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and pianist Tuomo Prättälä, are connected to the all-important rhythm section of bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori. Pohjola's excellent horn playing is very reminiscent of the esteemed Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko, but this is a collaborative effort where the members of the group move and perform as one.

Take It with Me is a departure from cookie-cutter releases marked by heavy doses of fast tracks with the occasional sprinkling of a ballad. The band takes a relaxed and deliberate approach from beginning to end, which is never boring and often quite engaging. The lone up-tempo piece, "Karhu, shows that the players can burn hot, but their inner selves are more revealing on the slower pieces.

The music comes to life through the detailed subtleties of the musicians' instruments and their unique choices of odd covers. Take your pick from these new standards, featuring the trumpet's whispering tone on the title track, "Take It with Me," by the iconoclastic American singer Tom Waits; a feathery brush of a cymbal on "Porcelain by the rock/funk group the Red Hot Chili Peppers; the powerful and romantic bass solo on "My Favorite Plum by singer/songwriter Suzanne Vega; the blossoming piano on the gradual ascension of "Hatchi. This is music for the mind as well as the ear. Tired of the norm? Take It with Me offers an approachable and cerebral destination.

Not only is the sound quality exceptional, but this release also includes twenty pages of liner notes, photos and recording information.

Track Listing: Take It With Me; Karhu; So FarR Askisto; Porcelain; Kanava; My Favorite Plum; Hatchi; In Wood.

Personnel: Verneri Pohjola: trumpet; Tuomo Pr

Title: Take It with Me | Year Released: 2007 | Record Label: TUM Records


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