JUKKA PERKO — Jukka Perko & Mikko Kuustonen : Profeetta (review)

JUKKA PERKO — Jukka Perko & Mikko Kuustonen : Profeetta album cover Album · 2008 · Pop/Art Song/Folk Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Matti P
Again I review an album rooted on the writings of Lebanon-born Kahlil Gibran (1883-1931). Both are Finnish works witnessing a collaboration between a jazz musician and a vocalist who's not exactly connected to the jazz genre; the first one was by pianist and composer Olli Ahvenlahti (b. 1949) and actor-singer Vesa-Matti Loiri.

Saxophonist Jukka Perko (b. 1968) is among the best known Finnish jazz musicians of his generation. His large discography contains several collaborative works, including a poem-based album sung by the mentioned Loiri -- which I'll review some day. This Gibran themed album is undoubtedly one of the least jazz-oriented albums Perko has co-composed. It is thoughtful, serene Vocal Music with an emphasis on the meaningful lyrics. Composing credits are shared by Perko, vocalist Kuustonen and guitarist Timo Kämäräinen, who is equally at home in jazz and rock.

Mikko Kuustonen (b. 1960) is a renowned pop/rock-oriented singer-songwriter whose musical past includes blues-rock and gospel. One can sense some gospel-reminding spirit here, which is understandable due to the "Prophetic" essence of Gibran's poetry. The arrangements are sensitive with a minimum amount of a rocking edge, only the rhythm section accompanying saxes and guitars. Kuustonen's warm barytone voice carries the lyrics with heartfelt depth.

Now, if my words make you think this is a very SONG based, vocal oriented album, I wish to point out that the music has a lot of space and nuances created by the playing, which is not there for merely backing the vocalist. And besides that, there's not much of the tight chorus-refrain structure. Instead it all flows beautifully. If the vocals were replaced by instruments, this could function as a slightly New Agey instrumental album for relaxating and introspective listening.

I'm not going through the eleven tracks in detail. The entire album works very well for a listener who appreciates introspective thoughtfulness. Understanding of Finnish is of course needed for full artistic reception.
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