HEIKKI SARMANTO — Counterbalance (review)

HEIKKI SARMANTO — Counterbalance album cover Album · 1971 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
Igor91
I recently came across Heikki Sarmanto's "Counterbalance" while browsing through CD's at my (only) local record shop. I had never heard of Heikki Sarmanto, but the cover of the album immediately intrigued me. It has a photo of Heikki and the band, immersed in a red/orange light, and looking very hippie-ish (I, of course, later discovered that this was not the original cover, which was even cooler). I thought to myself, "There must be some interesting sounding jazz coming from these guys." I was right.

On "Counterbalance," Heikki and his Serious Music Ensemble, as his band came to be known, lay down some exquisite, slightly psychedelic, jam-based numbers. The playing is loose and improvised, but never gets lost or sloppy, and the band always holds together as a cohesive unit.

Since acquiring this CD I have gone on to get several other early releases by Heikki and his Serious Music Ensemble, all of which I am really enjoying. I have come to realize that the Finnish music scene (jazz and otherwise) of the late 60's and 70's had a lot to offer.

The music on "Counterbalance" creates a very "chill" atmosphere, even though the band can get very energetic and busy at times. The music presented here definitely leans toward fusion, but not in a Mahavishnu Orchestra or Weather Report way. This is perfect late night music for social gatherings or solo listening sessions. Highly recommended: 4 stars!
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