JUKKA HAURU — Jukka Hauru / Nono Söderberg ‎: Pop Liisa 05 (review)

JUKKA HAURU — Jukka Hauru / Nono Söderberg ‎: Pop Liisa 05 album cover Split · 2016 · Fusion Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Matti P
For the fusion-minded listeners, this is an interesting item in the Pop Liisa series (or Jazz Liisa, which would have been equally suitable for these acts), ie. the seventies' live performances recorded in the Liisankatu Studios, Helsinki, originally broadcast on the Finnish radio and finally released by Svart Records in the 2010's. The two series are almost like a "who's who" of the Finnish prog and jazz/fusion scenes of the seventies.

Although it was naturally more common to have one band per show, some of the live dates featured two artists, and this was the case in December 15th, 1976. Guitarist and composer JUKKA HAURU (b. 1950) released two albums, Information (1972) and Episode (1975). Especially the debut's instrumental music has been compared to the likes of Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Frank Zappa.

This Liisankatu gig however contains a single 17-minute epic piece which was never recorded for a studio album, 'Günther Angst, Parts 1-6'. The sextet consists of Hauru (electric guitar), Juhani Poutanen (violin), Eero Ojanen (piano), Tapani Tamminen (double bass), Esko Rosnell (drums) and Ari Valtonen (percussion). The violinist Poutanen was Hauru's primary collaborator on Information, and his playing is in a big role here, too. Also other instruments get solistic spots in this complex piece wandering in the outskirts of free jazz. Round the sixth minute there's a beautiful calmer section first starring piano and double bass, then evolving into a delicate duet for violin and double bass played with a bow, joined later by a gentle guitar and light percussion, before shifting into a more fiery movement. Progheads may get some associations of the Larks-era King Crimson, in addition to Mahavishnu Orchestra.

As another fusion guitarist, Arto "NONO" SÖDERBERG (b. 1945) was a natural pairing for Jukka Hauru. The guitarist and composer is accompanied by the keyboard maestro Esa Kotilainen (who at the time had played in Wigwam), saxophonist Reijo Ylinen, plus bass, drums and percussion. Söderberg's had a long and many-sided career since the sixties but he released his debut solo album "Nono" no sooner than in 1976. Both pieces heard in this gig are taken from that instrumental pop-jazz/fusion album.

The lively and funky 'Tide' gives a refreshing contrast to the more demanding and ambiguous stuff of Hauru's sextet. Very nice groove in this 8-minute piece, almost twice as long as the album version. 'Seagull' is a calmer piece with laid-back soaring melodies reminiscent of CAMEL and SANTANA. Kotilainen's synth solo is cool, and the soprano saxophone takes its place harmonically. The congas of Esa Roswall sound very nice too.

I personally prefer the Söderberg set. On the CD this Pop Liisa 05 is combined with Pop Liisa 06: Finnforest and Elonkorjuu (1977).
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