All About Jazz

Home » Articles » CD/LP/Track Review


Jussi Reijonen: Un

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
The debut recording of Boston-based guitarist and oudist Jussi Reijonen is a remarkable crystallization of musical concepts and influences from the West and in the East. It is also a mature reflection of the musical experiences that Finland-born Reijonen accumulated in all the places that he grew up, including the Finnish Arctic Circle, the Middle East and East Africa.

But more than that, it is the approach that Reijonen, a student of guitarist David Fiuczynski, Palestinian violinist/oudist Simon Shaeen, and Lebanese multi-instrumentalist Bassam Saba, chose for Un. Like a Japanese calligraphy artist, Reijonen opts for the introspective and skeletal, stressing space and silence over extrovert virtuoso playing. This humble decision enables him to comprise varied elements organically into his compositions.

Reijonen is well-versed with the Middle Eastern traditional scales (maqamat), as "Srepentine" and "Bayatiful" reveal. He articulates and ornaments their themes with brilliant oud playing and, on "Bayatiful," offers a rich, imaginative interplay with Palestinian kanun player Ali Amr. But he also introduce a Western, jazz-based concept of improvisation and Spanish-tinged rhythmic approach.

His irreverent interpretation of saxophonist John Coltrane's "Naima" is characterized by a reserved Nordic attention to space and time as well as a lyrical, chamber jazz atmosphere. Its gentle, minimalist interplay between ethereal fretless guitar lines, double bass, piano and percussion emphasizes the intimate mood. On the breezy "Tounami," Reijonen uses a fretted guitar to create nuanced and subtle lines, similar to the West-African kora. He continues with this kind of serene and meditative playing on his Indian-tinged duet with bassist Bruno Raberg, bending the strings of his fretless guitar to emulate the sound of an Indian sarod.

"Kaiku," with Eva Louhivuori's breathy, wordless vocals, summarizes Reijonen's rich musical language. Subtle, detailed and collaborative, it is concise and playful at the beginning, slowly fading into an implied, abstract texture.

Reijonen's musical universe has no frontiers. It is a beautiful, sensual mosaic of traditions and influences.

Track Listing: Serpentine; Naima; Bayatiful; Toumani (Blues For Mick); Nuku Sie; Kaiku.

Personnel: Jussi Reijonen: guitar, oud; Utar Artun: piano; Bruno Råberg: acoustic bass; Tareq Rantisi: percussion; Sergio Martinez: percussion; Ali Amr: qanun (3); Eva Louhivuori: voice (6).

Title: Un | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Self Produced


Related Video

comments powered by Disqus

CD/LP/Track Review
  • Un by AAJ Italy Staff
  • Un by Eyal Hareuveni
  • Un by Hrayr Attarian
Take Five With...
Read more articles


Self Produced


Related Articles

Read Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow CD/LP/Track Review
Fill Up Your Lungs and Bellow
by Tyran Grillo
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Transatlantic CD/LP/Track Review
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Criss Cross CD/LP/Track Review
Criss Cross
by Roger Farbey
Published: March 22, 2018
Read So Far CD/LP/Track Review
So Far
by Mark Corroto
Published: March 22, 2018
Read Wherever You're Starting From CD/LP/Track Review
Wherever You're Starting From
by Troy Dostert
Published: March 21, 2018
Read Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery CD/LP/Track Review
Live in Miami @ the WDNA Jazz Gallery
by Jerome Wilson
Published: March 21, 2018
Read "Everybody Loves Angels" CD/LP/Track Review Everybody Loves Angels
by Henning Bolte
Published: October 26, 2017
Read "Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik" CD/LP/Track Review Mikrojazz!: Neue Expressionistische Musik
by Doug Collette
Published: October 1, 2017
Read "Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds" CD/LP/Track Review Counteract This Turmoil Like Trees And Birds
by John Sharpe
Published: August 3, 2017
Read "Double Mirror" CD/LP/Track Review Double Mirror
by Jerome Wilson
Published: July 8, 2017
Read "Cuban Nocturne" CD/LP/Track Review Cuban Nocturne
by Karl Ackermann
Published: November 7, 2017
Read "Is It Me...?" CD/LP/Track Review Is It Me...?
by Roger Farbey
Published: May 7, 2017