Matti P

Matti Pajuniemi
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 1 day ago

Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

53 reviews/ratings
EERO KOIVISTOINEN - Valtakunta Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
HEIKKI SARMANTO - Syksy Ja Muita Lauluja Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
JUKKA HAAVISTO - Reflections Fusion | review permalink
ESA HELASVUO - Think - Tank - Funk Avant-Garde Jazz | review permalink
PAT METHENY - Imaginary Day Live World Fusion | review permalink
TORD GUSTAVSEN - Tord Gustavsen Quartet ‎: The Well Post-Fusion Contemporary | review permalink
JUKKA TOLONEN - The Hook Fusion | review permalink
PAUL SIMON - Still Crazy After All These Years Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
JEANETTE LINDSTROM - Jeanette Lindström Quintet : I Saw You Vocal Jazz | review permalink
CÆCILIE NORBY - First Conversation Vocal Jazz | review permalink
DAVID DARLING - Eight String Religion Jazz Related Improv/Composition | review permalink
ATTE AHO - Atte Aho Fusion | review permalink
SUKELLUSVENE - Vesi- Ja Lintumusiikkia Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
JULIE LONDON - Around Midnight Vocal Jazz | review permalink
DIANE SCHUUR - Diane Schuur Featuring Caribbean Jazz Project : Schuur Fire Latin Jazz | review permalink
ELIANE ELIAS - Love Stories Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
BILL CONNORS - Return Fusion | review permalink
MARILYN SCOTT - Nightcap Vocal Jazz | review permalink
METTE HENRIETTE (METTE HENRIETTE MARTEDATTER RØLVÅG) - Drifting Third Stream | review permalink
TONY BENNETT - Duets II Vocal Jazz | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Pop/Art Song/Folk 13 3.65
2 Vocal Jazz 11 3.64
3 Jazz Related Rock 7 3.50
4 Fusion 7 4.00
5 Post-Fusion Contemporary 4 3.75
6 Bossa Nova 2 3.25
7 RnB 2 3.25
8 Third Stream 1 4.00
9 World Fusion 1 4.50
10 Avant-Garde Jazz 1 4.50
11 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1 4.50
12 Progressive Big Band 1 3.50
13 Jazz Related Soundtracks 1 3.00
14 Latin Jazz 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

DAVE GRUSIN The Fabulous Baker Boys: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

Album · 1989 · Jazz Related Soundtracks
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The American pianist, composer and band leader Dave Grusin (b. 1934, still alive!) was highly active in the field of film music. The movies I'm familiar with include e.g. Pollack's "Three Days of the Condor" (1975), Warren Beatty's "Heaven Can Wait" (1978), Oscar-magnet "On Golden Pond" (1981), the gender comedy "Tootsie" (1982), and - perhaps my favourite film of these - "The Fabulous Baker Boys" (1989), a musical drama with romantic undertones, starring real life brothers Beau and Jeff Bridges as a jazz piano duo of brothers, and Michelle Pfeiffer as a singer joining them.

The most memorable musical moments in the film are definitely those where Pfeiffer performs with the Baker brothers: 'Makin' Whoopee' and 'My Funny Valentine'. They are the highlights of the soundtrack as well. Pfeiffer's vocal abilities were surprisingly good. Grusin's original soundtrack music is fairly enjoyable too, although some of it hasn't aged so well. The core combo - featuring e.g. Grusin on keyboards, guitarist Lee Ritenour, a tenor saxophone and a trumpet - is often accompanied by strings. Occasionally the arrangements lean towards big band stuff.

'Main Title (Jack's Theme)' is a nice, groovy and elegantly arranged jazz piece. 'Welcome to the Road' is among the most eighties sounding tracks. The drumming is too loud in the mix and synths sound rather thin. 'Suzie and Jack' is a pleasant, slow-tempo romantic piece. Even more beautiful is the melancholic and moody ballad 'The Moment of Truth'.

The album also contains Grusin's arrangement of 'Lullaby of Birdland, and 'Moonglow' performed in 1936 by the Benny Goodman Quartet. The album is a bit uneven to listen to, and sometimes the original music is terribly 80's, but the highlights justify sympathetic three stars.

SUKELLUSVENE Vesi- Ja Lintumusiikkia

Album · 1979 · Jazz Related Rock
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Founded in the early seventies, Finnish band Sukellusvene (= Submarine) already had a colourful past when they spent four days in a recording studio in the autumn of 1978. The result, this sole album with a title meaning Water and Bird Music, was released by then-dying Love Records in May 1979, and it sold 300 copies. For a long time it was a collector's item remembered only by a limited number of people, but Svart Records re-released it with interview-based liner notes (written by yours truly), first on vinyl in 2016, two years later also on CD.

Although the band had performed also vocal songs, their recorded output is entirely instrumental. At this point featuring two guitarists, a keyboard virtuoso, saxophonist-clarinetist and a rhythm section (all members being highly gifted, educated musicians), Sukellusvene created a six-piece album that doesn't much pale in comparison to fusion's leading names such as RETURN TO FOREVER and WEATHER REPORT, or their countryman JUKKA TOLONEN. Sadly the flautist Maikki Talasmo, sister of Lassi's, didn't get the chance to play on the album. Flute would have been a nice addition to the sound.

The opening track composed by guitarist Jukka Mäkinen is called 'Hiilijuna'. That's Finnish for "coal train", hinting at the certain jazz giant. After a classically oriented 3-minute piano intro it starts to groove, several enjoyable solos following each other in a lively and elegant manner. The other guitarist Tapani Tuomanen's melodic composition 'Metsän takaa nousee' is reminiscent of Camel's instrumental stuff. Bassist Pekka Muhli wrote 'Ilmojen halki' (= Through the air) which is a bright and happily jazzy number. Again solos for various instruments appear in turns, always serving the coherence completely; there were no clash of egos in this group.

B-side of the vinyl starts with two pieces written by keyboardist Kari Litmanen. More than the rest of the album, they are spiced with funk, but they still are pure fusion. I'm not a friend of plain funk, but when it's an ingredient of fusion music, it often works really well, like it does here.

The re-release contains also the tracks from the single released the same month as the album. 'Savitaipaleen polkka' is a good-humoured Finnish traditional song. Sukellusvene turned it into a speedy jazz-rock number that really grooves. Within the limited length (2:28) the group manages to include brief solos for electric guitar, organ and alto saxophone. 'Sea Journey' is a cover of a Chick Corea composition. Soprano sax and synths are soloing in turns in this airy, lively and enjoyable piece.

Even with some imperfection in the sonic quality, this album is a delight to a listener of the 70's fusion.

IRA KASPI You And The Night And The Music

Album · 2012 · Vocal Jazz
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This is the seventh album by the Finnish jazz vocalist IRA KASPI (b. 1964). Seemingly, surprisingly, it's still her latest. On her earlier albums she's more or less oriented towards new compositions made for her (sometimes also co-written by her), but this one's dedicated to international classics -- although not entirely. The musicians in "Jazz Diva Band" are pianist Mikael Jakobsson, Jussi Kannaste on tenor sax, Ape Anttila on guitar, bass and percussion and Markku Ounaskari on drums. "With Strings" refers to the Lohja Town Orchestra led by Esa Heikkilä.

On her debut album Inner Voices (2001) I sensed a little Suzanne Vega in her voice. I liked that, but I don't deny her expression has matured in eleven years.

Kaspi herself was especially pleased by the beautiful orchestration on the opening song 'Don't Go to Strangers'and I fully agree, it is gorgeous in its romantic feel. An obvious highlight. The title track where the arrangement focuses on the band has a nice atmosphere that makes you forget that the piece is so often covered. Slightly melancholic 'How Do You Keep Up the Light' was written by Kaspi and Anttila but it fits in harmonically among the standards.

I've heard great interpretations of 'Someday My Prince Will Come', by e.g. Cassandra Wilson, and IMHO this relatively lighthearted version loses the needed romantic aspect. 'The Gentle Rain' was composed by Luiz Bonfa and originally (?) performed by Astrud Gilberto whose soft expression I prefer. The orchestration is nice, though. 'Call Me Irresponsible' emphasizes the band, especially the sax.

'The Good Life' immediately makes me think of Tony Bennett. Kaspi's version also has romanticism in the delicate arrangement, making this one of the better tracks. After two further standards the album closes with another Kaspi-Anttila composition 'The Best Is Yet to Be Coming'. It is surprisingly uptempo and groovy, but apart from a cool piano solo it's not among my faves here.

All in all, I think years back I liked Kaspi's aforementioned debut over this one. I would have wanted more of the lush orchestrations that are at their finest in the opening piece, and the set feels slightly worn-out and unoriginal. Worth three stars anyway.

ATTE AHO Atte Aho

Album · 2022 · Fusion
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Guitarist ATTE AHO from Helsinki, Finland, was 27 years old at the time of releasing his eponymous debut album. He has played in several combos, not only in jazz but also in pop, e.g. vocalist Anna Abreu's group. With this solo album he proves to be a gifted composer in addition to being a great musician. His electric guitar is accompanied by Kasperi Kallio's keyboards, Mikko Kuorikoski's bass and Johannes Pakkala's drums. The all-instrumental album also features some guest performances, even some strings. Upon my very first impression I'm really charmed by the lush, bright, rich and elegant soundscape.

As a guitarist Aho recalls big names such as Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and perhaps slightly David Gilmour -- not that he'd imitate anyone. We're dealing with rock oriented fusion with a fairly melodic and accessible approach, by which I definitely don't imply this music to be simple or diluted. The vibrant jazz groove is there. Atte Aho's many-sided background as a musician in the popular field surely shows here in a good way, the same way as with Jeff Beck.

There are eight tracks on this 50-minute album. The track lengths are between 4:49 and 7:35. 'Labyrinth' is an excellent opener and a good example of what's on offer. The guitar has the lead role but the keybaords and the rhythm section are not left in the background. Everyone plays excellently. The dynamic sound is juicy, nuanced and enjoyably airy instead of being stuffy in the least. On 'Ulan Bator' the spotlight is momentarily on the electric piano.

Already on the third composition 'Wave' the listener is guaranteed that there's also a more emotional and sensitive level to the music. 'Guidance' is a beautiful, slow and mellow piece. The more energetic side is showcased on the aptly titled 'Elastic Energy', and even it maintains a good balance without becoming too hectic. The sound is at times very big and bold but never crosses the line of being overblown and self-indulgent.

I'm very pleased that I accidentally found this artist and album. without a doubt this is among the finest jazz/fusion albums of recent years that I've listened to. A pure delight to ears, mind and heart. Let's leave a half star's growing space for future releases.

SADE (HELEN FOLASADE ADU) Love Deluxe

Album · 1992 · RnB
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The ratings of SADE albums seem to go a slight downfall, ie. the debut Diamond Life (1984) is the highest rated, and each later album scores a bit lower than the preceding one. Sade's biggest hits -- 'Smooth Operator', 'Your Love is King' etc -- indeed came early in the career. Love Deluxe is the band's fourth album. I deliberately speak of the British band, even though Sade can also refer to the gorgeous, Nigerian-born singer Sade Adu, as it undoubtedly does in the wide public. But practically it was a group effort. The songs were mainly composed together by Adu, saxophonist-guitarist Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale and, to a lesser degree, bassist Paul Spencer Denman.

While the third album Stronger Than Pride (1988) had a bit more edge, Love Deluxe returns to the soft and sensitive coolness, and does it very pleasantly in my opinion. The opener 'No Ordinary Love' was the lead single released one month prior the album. I love its hypnotic and slightly melancholic atmosphere.

Sonically, songs such as 'Feel the Pain' and 'I Couldn't Love You More' come a bit closer to the bulk of r'n'b balladry, with a sticky beat I've never enjoyed. But Sade Adu's lovely voice easily lifts anything above the rest of the genre. The slow, spatial and dreamy 'Like a Tattoo' arrives just in time. Shivers!

The bright-toned 'Kiss of Life', the third single, is an enjoyable, solid Sade number. 'Cherish the Day' is again of the more average r'n'b stuff and continues on the thoroughly familiar path. The slow-tempo Adu-Hale composition 'Pearls' features an orchestral arrangement and is among the highligths. 'Bullet Proof Soul' has nice piano and rather cheesy sax. Instrumental (!) closing track 'Mermaid' paints an exotic, oceanic view.

This album may not quite be on the high level of the two first albums but is nevertheless essential for any fan who wants some more of the ear-candy.

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