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Anni Kiviniemi is a young Finnish pianist-composer based in Los Angeles who releases her debut album as a bandleader, heading a classic jazz piano trio with fellow Finnish double bass player Eero Tikkanen (of Mikko Innanen 10+ and Pauli Lyytinen Magnetia Orkesteri among many other bands) and Norwegian drummer Hans Hulbækmo (of Gard Nilssen’s Supersonic Orchestra, Moskus and the defunct Atomic)). The new album Eir, named after Kiviniemi’s daughter, who was born after the recording of the album, was recorded at Newtone Studio in Oslo.

Kiviniemi’s music stretches the boundaries of a classic jazz piano trio and flirts with classical music, Norwegian traditional folk music and North African music. It is still rooted in the Nordic jazz legacy and has a moody and introspective atmosphere, but allows complete freedom for Tikkanen and Hulbækmo to interpret her music in their way. Kiviniemi says that «the album is 95% improvised but when we play live, we edge towards 99%».

The extensive experience of the rhythm section of Tikkanen and Hulbaekmo allows Kiviniemi to alternate and shift between dynamics. There is a sense of a leisured, light-swinging playfulness in pieces like «Judy» and «Mengi» that highlight the natural flow of the music as well as the intimate yet uplifting dynamics of this new trio. This trio dives deeper into the lyrical and dramatic story of «Arguably» and opens its interplay for a more adventurous and intense one on «Atoms». This promising album is concluded with the beautiful and touching «Choral».

Eyal Hareuveni

Anni Kiviniemi (piano), Eero Tikkanen (double bass), Hans Hulbækmo (drums)