Matti P

Matti Pajuniemi
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30 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
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
PROGRESSION - Noxologic Fusion | review permalink
STRANDBERG PROJECT - X Fusion | review permalink
JONI MITCHELL - Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
UNI SONO - Unisono Fusion | review permalink
KARRIN ALLYSON - Wild for You Vocal Jazz | review permalink
PEKKA POHJOLA - Flight of the Angel Jazz Related Rock | review permalink
GRETCHEN PARLATO - In A Dream Vocal Jazz | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Vocal Jazz 7 3.43
2 Fusion 6 3.92
3 Pop/Art Song/Folk 6 4.00
4 Post-Fusion Contemporary 3 3.83
5 Jazz Related Rock 2 3.25
6 Latin Jazz 1 4.00
7 Avant-Garde Jazz 1 4.50
8 Bossa Nova 1 3.00
9 RnB 1 3.00
10 Third Stream 1 4.00
11 World Fusion 1 4.50

Latest Albums Reviews


Album · 2023 · Third Stream
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Drifting is the second album by the Norwegian saxophonist and composer METTE HENRIETTE (b. 1990). While the eponymous debut (2016) contains pieces for both trio and larger combos, here all music is for tenor sax, piano and cello. This is my very first listening of the artist. According to the All Music Guide "Drifting is gentler, quieter, but no less challenging than its predecessor. Its compositions reside in the amorphous aural terrain between jazz, folk, and contemporary classical."

That description sounds accurate. This is ambient, lyrical, thoughtful, peaceful and elegently spatial music that breathes organically. The given low rating here actually feels a bit strange without a review to explain it. To me, the album sounds very beautiful. The saxophone is often played gently in a breathy manner, Johan Lindvall's piano weaves meditative patterns and Judith Hamann's cello adds the needed warmth to the sound that is easy to associate with a wintery landscape (such as the one in the cover). Some slight dissonance here and there makes sure it all doesn't get too sleepy.

The composer herself has said that "this album is in movement. It's on its way somewhere and has its own pace -- its creative agency is fundamentally different from what I've done previously". Mette's countryman Jan Garbarek at his most meditative might be a good reference, and the more ambientish side of producer Manfred Eicher's trusted ECM oeuvre in general. Some kindred spirit as a saxophonist can also be found in Linda Fredriksson from Finland.


Album · 1974 · Fusion
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High time to have the first JMA review for Jukka Tolonen, the most legendary guitar hero in the Finnish prog history. In addition to the large and respected solo career mainly in the Fusion genre, he was the founder and central member of TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI.

The Hook is Tolonen's third solo album and my personal favourite of them. The impresive line-up features Esa Kotilainen (r.i.p.) on moog, clavinet and accordion, Pekka Pöyry on saxes and flute, four other blowers and the rhythm section of Heikki Virtanen and Esko Rosnell. Tolonen himself plays also piano. The music was recorded in Stockholm's Marcus Music AB and produced by Måns Groundstroem.

The nearly 13-minute 'Aurora Borealis' is a gorgeous celebration of excellent musicianship, and it gives a lot of attention to various instruments, both in combo playing and in solos, in the slightly funky environment. What a moog solo and drum work! Perhaps the groove continues a bit too long occasionally.

'Starfish' is equally energetic Fusion, loaded with reeds and brass. Full of musical joy that makes you feel happy. The band is just fantastic. 'The Sea' slows the pace graciously. Nice laid-back groove starring piano, accompanied by the rest of the group in perfect balance. The flute solo is lovely! The title track starts in a very funky manner and gives the main attention to Tolonen's technical excellence on guitar. This is my least favourite track but still quite interesting as it proceeds.

The relatively brief (3:15) closing track 'Together' is a mellow, emotional ballad focusing on piano but containing also nice guitar sounds. The Hook is definitely worth of your time if you enjoy virtuotic and vibrant Fusion.

TORD GUSTAVSEN Tord Gustavsen Quartet ‎: The Well

Album · 2012 · Post-Fusion Contemporary
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Norwegian jazz pianist and composer TORD GUSTAVSEN (b. 1970) has recorded albums since 2003, with either the word trio, quartet or ensemble following his name on the cover. Years back I have grown a fondness for two of his trio albums, featuring naturally piano, bass and drums.

This 53-minute album is my first acquaintance for his quartet format, the fourth instrument being a tenor saxophone. I am very rewarded, as the essence of his music remains to be lyrical, serene and introspectively thoughtful, in the finest ECM tradition. The touch of the legendary producer Manfred Eicher is easily recognized, and to a fan of the label that's a positive thing. Sax helps to get associations to Jan Garbarek in the overall spirit, but Gustavsen's music with the emphasis on piano has its own individual personality. The presence of the sax is mostly inferior to the piano during the whole album, and whenever it arrives, it adds another thoughtful element to the sound without breaking the harmonic introspection.

On the slow, melancholic 'Prelude' the sax just gently breathes along the piano melody. On the slightly louder but apparently saxless track 'Playing' the drums appear even before the piano starts, and the double bass is occasionally played with a bow, thus resembling a cello. The longest piece 'Suite' (8:19) has a beautifully calm first section to where the sax arrives as the melodic lead instrument for a while. The track flows very elegantly with a mysterious flair. The sense of a dream or a mystery is even stronger on 'Communion' where the percussion is very sparse and where there are occasionally some peculiar wailing sounds. The quiet, breathy sax is lovely.

I remember some almost Elton John reminding sweet piano melodies from an earlier trio album, and here 'Circling' does the same. That nicely prevents the album of becoming too introvert. Nevertheless, safe to say that to enjoy this album a lot requires a sincere taste for moody introspection and serenity.


Album · 2004 · Vocal Jazz
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For now, Nightcap is the only album of the American vocalist MARILYN SCOTT (b. 1949) that I've listened to, but she's definitely worth further listening. This album was produced by George Duke who naturally plays the piano and keyboards. The other [to me] well known musician is drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, but there's no doubt about the whole Los Angeles -based combo being seasoned top musicians. Guaranteed, the album sounds damn good.

The 8-piece set list favours standards -- although not necessarily the most worn-out ones, on the course of the whole album. Often such orientation towards well-known evergreens feels very tired to me, but Marilyn Scott and the arranger George Duke have brought new spark to familiar songs. For example Irving Berlin's 'Isn't This a Lovely Day' has a rare freshness in it, with a lovely flute participation. Even 'Smile', the heavily circulated Charles Chaplin evergreen, doesn't make me feel I've heard it too many times. Duke's piano in it is so rich, and the vibes are the cherry on top. Hoagy Carmichael's 'Stardust' also works nicely, although I'm not fond of the Toots Thielemans-type harmonica. But admittedly a few more unfamiliar songs would have improved the album.

Sorry, I forgot to deal with Marilyn's vocals. She is an excellent singer with a natural and yet nuanced expression, and her voice is clear, warm and deep. A step towards the likes of Patricia Barber in that matter, although not in that low register.

Marilyn Scott's version of the Jerome Kern standard 'Yesterdays' is sensually playful, not moody like I've heard it sung many times. Again the flute is crucial. The double bass and a guitar also have solo spots. The final piece 'If It's the Last Thing I Do' (Sammy Cahn/Saul Chaplin) wasn't familiar to me. A beautiful jazz ballad with some livelier moments amidst the dreamy slowness.

I'm saving my favourite last. I don't know if 'Here's to Life' is a minor standard, I've heard two versions of it. But boy, I truly fell in love with this passionate and thoughtful performance. Not only Marilyn Scott is at her emotionally deepest here, the detailed arrangement with the great use of dynamics makes the piece so gorgeous it gives me goosebumps. This one really should have ended the whole album!

OLETA ADAMS Circle of One

Album · 1990 · Pop/Art Song/Folk
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I believe most people -- at least in Europe -- best remember the American singer and pianist OLETA ADAMS (b. 1953) from the highly succesful TEARS FOR FEARS album the Seeds of Love (1989), in particular as a duet vocalist on the gorgeous ballad 'Woman in Chains'. Actually I've never come across her own albums, which feels rather unfair considering her talent. Having released two self-budgeted and largely ignored albums in the early 80's, she re-started her recording career with this album that TFF's Roland Orzabal co-produced with David Bascombe. Most tracks are written by Adams herself. The genre is basically soulful r&b, not jazz per se.

'Rhythm of Life' was written by Orzabal and Nicky Holland, the keyboardist who had contributed to The Seeds album as well. As a TFF admirer I'd prefer the song closer in spirit to the organic approach of The Seeds album, ie. with less dominant r&b programming. 'Get Here' was originally a moderate hit for its writer Brenda Russell in 1988, but Oleta's version became even more popular and remains her best known recording. A nice ballad not so far from the style of Randy Crawford a decade earlier.

The next four songs are Oleta's own compositions. The title track is suitably catchy with the horn section and backing choir, slightly reminiscent of Phil Collins at his most commercial. Listening to the excellent drumming on e.g. 'I've Got a Right' I wouldn't have been too surprised to see Collins in the album credits. The bass is marvelously played by Pino Palladino. Guitarist Neil Taylor is a former TFF member and a long-time collaborator of Robbie Williams.

The album seems to be pretty solid and even, maintaining a high level of songwriting, musicianship and production. The evenness can be taken both positively and negatively, though. In the end several of the uptempo pieces sound alike more than necessary. Fortunately the slow ballad 'Everything Must Change' (by Benard Ighner) sticks out as an emotional highlight. A very good album in the r&b genre, and easily enjoyed also by the listeners of mainstream pop. Let it be said once more that Oleta Adams really should have become more widely known as an individual artist!

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