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«Berlin 27.10.17»

Helsinki’s We Jazz Records launches a new series of live recordings from the vibrant Finnish scene. The first release on this series, «Berlin 27.10.17», was recorded at Berlin’s Monarch club during the the second annual Scope Festival (a collaborative effort of Berlin’s XJAZZ and the We Jazz label). The packed club offered a perfect atmosphere for this raw presentation of three Finnish trios, all playing unreleased pieces or old ones in new arrangements.

Bowman Trio opened this presentation. The trio, titled after fictional Swedish adventurer hero Johan Bowman, was founded in 2013 and features drummer-leader Sami Nummela, trumpeter Tomi Nikku and bassist Joonas Tuuri. The trio is inspired from New York’s seventies loft scene and has a melodic yet free sound. Nummela composed the first piece, «Just a Scratch», that introduces the loose-leisured interplay of the trio, and Nikku composed the second piece, the playful-swinging «The Hillary Step».

The second act was Jaska Lukkarinen Trio led by drummer Lukkarinen with sax player Jussi Kannaste and Swedish bassist Mattias Welin. The trio has released two albums so far, and describes itself as influenced by seminal piano-less, chamber trios «in the vein of Jimmy Giuffre’s best work». Kannaste’s «Roger» continues the loose-swinging atmosphere of Bowman Trio but the second composition of guitarist-pianist Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen, with whom Lukkarinen plays in the Dalindèo sextet, suggests a deeper kind of interplay, poetic and lyrical.

The third and the last act was Black Motor, one of the best known Finnish free jazz outfits. The trio has released ten albums and its founders – drummer Simo Laihonen, member of Sound & Fury who plays the compositions of great Edward Vesala, and bassist Ville Rauhala, are joined by veteran reeds player Jouni «Tane» Kannisto, who has played in Vesala’s legendary Sound & Fury (replacing sax player Sami Sippola, search now for new sonic possibilities. Kannisto plays here on the flute, the Indian double reed instruments shehnai and nagaswaram, and his playing adds an exotic-folky dimension to Rauhala’s cinematic «Lähempänä taivasta». The second piece «Branches (Berliner Musik)», credited to the trio, brings this performance to an uplifting climax. Black Motor creates irresistible, tribal dance, highly rhythmic but totally free, stressing the strong, distinct personalities of this fantastic trio.

Eyal Hareuveni

Bowman Trio: Tomi Nikku (tp), Joonas Tuuri (b), Sami Nummela (dr). Jaska Lukkarinen Trio: Jaska Lukkarinen (dr), Jussi Kannaste (ts), Mattias Welin (b). Black Motor: Tane Kannisto (fl, shehnai, nagaswaram), Ville Rauhala (b), Simo Laihonen (dr)