4

Juhani Aaltonen: To Future Memories

Dan McClenaghan By

Sign in to view read count
Helsinki-based TUM Records, launched in 2003, "promotes more experienced musicians whose work is not favored by commercial trends of our time." The label is especially supportive of the freer end of jazz's spectrum, offering up albums like Kolibri by Finish pianist/harpist Iro Haarla, violinist Billy Bang's Da Bang, and trumpeter Wadada Leo Smith's Occupy the World, to name just a few of the label's adventurous 2013 offerings.

Finnish saxophonist/flutist Juhani Aaltonen (b. 1935) , who cites saxophonist John Coltrane as a seminal influence—though he has developed his own very distinctive style—is one of those experienced musicians who doesn't fit in with the popular trends. He opens TUM Records' 2014 CD release schedule with To Future Memories, featuring his regular quartet, beefed up to sextet with an additional bassist and percussionist, to give a denser, more layered rhythmic foundation upon which the players can improvise.

Subtitled The Music of Antti Hyatti, this disc is Aaltonen's chance to explore his fellow countryman Hyatti's tunes—most of them written for film and theater—with a respectful depth and a vibrant sense of improvisation. The result—perhaps it's a Finnish thing—is a set that is filled with melancholy, and stories from, perhaps, a somber and introspective side of life. "Reminiscence," the opening tune, features Aaltonen in an anguished frame of mind, his tenor sax wailing as pianist Iro Haarla lays down spare notes with perfect placement inside the loosely woven web of the tapestry of the two basses, drums and percussion.

"Kukunor," featuring Aaltonen on flute, sounding like a pastoral haunting, spirits in the forest, perhaps, while "Hilsi" finds the leader riding the ripples of a gentle bass/drum/percussion disturbance on bass flute. "All the Birds," features a gorgeous piano intro from Haarla, before Aalton enters on a raw-toned tenor. It's a sound that has the feeling of those birds flying lugubriously under a leaden sky, with darkness on a cold winter day not far off.

Aaltonen, with over a half century of music making under his belt—and a leader on five TUM Records sets—has crafted an extraordinary set of distinctive and oddly beautiful music with To Future Memories. He and his band sound like nobody else out there.

Track Listing: Reminiscence; Kukunor; To Future Memories; Hilsi; Ursala; All the Birds; Haze.

Personnel: Juhani Aaltonen: tenor saxophone, flute, bass flute; Iro Haarla: piano, harp; Ulf Krokfors: bass; Ville Herrala: bass; Reino Laine: drums; Tatu Ronkko: percussion.

Title: To Future Memories | Year Released: 2014 | Record Label: TUM Records


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Whispers on the Wind CD/LP/Track Review Whispers on the Wind
by Jack Bowers
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman CD/LP/Track Review Shropshire Lads: Songs to the Poems of AE Housman
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 23, 2017
Read Heptagon CD/LP/Track Review Heptagon
by Glenn Astarita
Published: October 23, 2017
Read ON Tour CD/LP/Track Review ON Tour
by John Kelman
Published: October 22, 2017
Read On a Distant Shore CD/LP/Track Review On a Distant Shore
by C. Michael Bailey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets CD/LP/Track Review Friends & Heroes: Guitar Duets
by Roger Farbey
Published: October 22, 2017
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Skylines" CD/LP/Track Review Skylines
by Bruce Lindsay
Published: November 13, 2016
Read "Find the Way" CD/LP/Track Review Find the Way
by Karl Ackermann
Published: May 26, 2017
Read "Second City" CD/LP/Track Review Second City
by Troy Dostert
Published: September 1, 2017
Read "Get Up And Go" CD/LP/Track Review Get Up And Go
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: June 2, 2017
Read "On Hollywood Boulevard" CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Sacha O'Grady
Published: December 6, 2016

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY IT!  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.