Multi-reedplayer Pepa Päivinen (known for example from UMO Jazz Orchestra and Edward Vesala’s Sound and Fury ensemble etc.). has led various own bands over more than 30 years. The newest one, Good Romans, consists of two rather unknown youngsters with him.
From right the beginning on guitarist Ilari Filander and drummer & sound wizard Jussi Miettola both show how capable musicians they are and how well they fit into Päivinen’s present musical concept. The album starts with Miettola’s long guitar intro and he does fine work, indeed. As a whole the opening Magi is a riff-based composition in which the main role is carried by Pepa’s dynamic and strong tenor saxophone. And after the relatively calm start it goes into rougher stratospheres during the tenor solo. Miettola brings out his talents on his drums and soundscapes.
Rimany riffs are the main basis for most pieces here but they are heard randomly only, not ever throughout one single piece. Anyway, a lot of things are happening all the time both rhytmically and by feelings in each composition and the music: easy going and melodic moments, slow and yearning moods, occasional free improvisation, strong free playing and impressive solos.
Päivinen prefers here his low pitched reeds in many occasions. Two compositions starts with his bass flute, two others with bass clarinet. Bass flute and Miettola’s fascinatinh sound world make first kind of magical moments on Canon which, typically here, at some point changes into strong and faster, sometimes almost aggressive character.
Another in the same way up-growing piece is You Will Ascend. There, after Päivinen’s moderate bass clarinet working the pulse and feeling gets stronger and stronger all the way on. A guitar riff loop gives room for a real guitarist to solo and Filander lets his instrument burn.
There’s a lot of different kinds of moods and feelings through out the album. And a lot of things to listen to. That goes to both fascinating and rich sound worlds as well as to individual expressions, great solo work. Pepa Päivinen plays fantastic solos using just three instruments from his vast reed arsenal. Aside impressive solos he also uses bass flute and, especially, bass clarinet as accompanying tools here.
The musicians have a perfect command of reading their others’ minds and responding to new changes immediately. All three together they have some special approach to the music they perform. ‘Every gig is different’ commented Päivinen after their Tampere Jazz Happening concert last November. Of course it should be like that. Always. With every improvising band. But with Pepa Päivinen & Good Romans it certainly is so. Anything can happen, surprises on and on. Also on this studio album which gives an illusion of a live recording.
Pepa Päivinen (ts, bcl, bfl, perc), Ilari Filander (g), Jussi Miettola (dr, sounds)