Post-Fusion Contemporary / Third Stream / Avant-Garde Jazz / 21st Century Modern • Finland
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IRO HAARLA picture
Iro Haarla was for many years the inner architect and orchestrator of the music of her husband, drummer and bandleader Edward Vesala (1954-1999). She had just left Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy when she met Vesala in 1978 and put her own career as a composer and concert pianist on hold to help him realize his musical visions. Vesala was very much an intuitive musician, and it was Haarla who gave shape and colour to many of his ideas in her arrangements and editing of material for his Sound & Fury group. Like all his players, she was devoted to the cause. Edward needed an improvising harpist? Iro promptly learned how to play the harp. (And, later koto, analog synthesizers, accordion, whatever was required). Vesala’s influence on her work and her musical values was profound and continues, but she gave much to his work, too – as can be adjudged by listening read more...
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IRO HAARLA Discography

IRO HAARLA albums / top albums

IRO HAARLA Yarra Yarra (with Pepa Päivinen) album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Yarra Yarra (with Pepa Päivinen)
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2001
IRO HAARLA Iro Haarla & Ulf Krokfors : Heart of a Bird album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Iro Haarla & Ulf Krokfors : Heart of a Bird
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2003
IRO HAARLA Iro Haarla - Ulf Krokfors Loco Motife: Penguin Beguine album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Iro Haarla - Ulf Krokfors Loco Motife: Penguin Beguine
Avant-Garde Jazz 2005
IRO HAARLA Northbound album cover 3.02 | 3 ratings
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2005
IRO HAARLA Vespers album cover 4.15 | 3 ratings
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2011
IRO HAARLA Kolibri album cover 3.00 | 1 ratings
Post-Fusion Contemporary 2013
IRO HAARLA Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors & Barry Altschul : Around Again album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors & Barry Altschul : Around Again
21st Century Modern 2018

IRO HAARLA EPs & splits

IRO HAARLA live albums

IRO HAARLA Ante Lucem album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Ante Lucem
Third Stream 2016

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Album · 2011 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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The Truth
Oh man, I think I was just lost in the music for a second...

This album which I found with the help of JMA is a captivating listen from start to finish, the cover art almost nails the overall feel of the album: snowy and gentle but not too much of either. It at times has rough edges that can really hook you.

Mathias Eick is an skilled trumpeter (one of my favorites) but basically the whole quintet knows how to get things done, every track is thoughtful and well played and there's is rarely even a second of weakness in the album.

Just let yourself sink into the music (which is very easily done) and enjoy the vacation in the snowy soundscapes they create. You can almost see your breath.

IRO HAARLA Northbound

Album · 2005 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Northbound is Finnish pianist and harpist Iro Haarla's debut on ECM. I re-listen it once again after I really enjoyed her fresh,second ECM release,Vespers. To be honest, I wasn't so much impressed Northbound when I listened it for a first time some years ago, so I just decided to check if I missed something.

Musicians team is the same on both releases, and in general both them sound in ECM tradition, so from the first look the difference is not so big. But now, listening to Northbound after I just spent some days repeating Vespers again and again,it's even easier to hear the progress Iro done during these six years between two albums releases.

Northbound is melancholic liquid well rounded Nordic saga, down tempo,with strong Grieg classic influence. Piano and straight ahead trumpet (in Jan Garbarek's later works tradition) build beautiful,but too predictable atmosphere, and music if melodic,doesn't have memorable moments and slowly goes to nowhere. Compositions are well structured, with only minimum space for improvs, more classic,than real jazz.

Album still have same ECM clear and cool atmosphere, with obvious Nordic flavor, but somewhere on the middle becomes too amorphous and even boring.It's great to see,how six years later on Vespers, Iro progressed with similar material to really great avant-jazz complex interplays instead of nice but predictable soloing.


Album · 2011 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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ECM label releases from early 70s were very often an event (if not revolutionary) each. Unfortunately quite soon they found their formula combining crystal clear sound with cool atmosphere and always high quality but too comfortable and very predictable jazz (sometimes on the border with new age).It looked magic has gone forever.

It's great,that some decades later returning to their more current releases I can find adventurous music again (and more often during last years). Don't think they will switch to experimental jazz label ever, but it's really great their releases has that mature beauty of real jazz instead of one-time sound wallpapers they were deep in.

Finnish pianist and harpist Iro Haarla's second ECM release is one of such label's releases - great balance between pre-composed (even classic influenced) music and jazz improvs, aerial,very Nordic, but at the same time - warm and melodic.

Iro Haarla possibly isn't well known as solo artist, but for years she was very influenced to her later husband, finnish drummer Edward Vesala's music. He played with Garbarek as well as on many ECM collaborations and solo albums, and his wive was a main person who transformed his early chaotic and structureless free improvs to more organized ,even melodic compositions.

"Vespers" is avant-garde jazz album which doesn't sound much as such. Very female music - with million of nuances, softer edges and melancholic atmosphere, it never turns to mellow or nostalgic.Sax player Trygve Seim,bassist Uffe Krokfors and drummer Jon Christensen all are Nordic jazz veterans (all of them played with Edward Vesala as well),the only less experienced this Finnish-Norvegian quintet's member is trumpeter Mathias Eick, who demonstrates his absolute competency there.

Nine complex,but quite easy for listening fluid compositions of cool Nordic beauty and warmer melancholy with great interplays between all musicians - great ECM early 2011 release, one between their best albums during some last years.

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