SANNA RUOHONIEMI — Let Everything Happen (review)

SANNA RUOHONIEMI — Let Everything Happen album cover Album · 2024 · Vocal Jazz Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
Matti P
This is the third and latest album of the fairly young Finnish vocalist and composer SANNA RUOHONIEMI. She grew up in the countryside of Finnish Ostrobothnia and nowadays lives in Stockholm. That's where the album was recorded as well, the accompanying musicians being Fredrik Lindborg (saxophone, bass clarinet), Daniel Tilling (piano), Lars Ekman (double bass) and Daniel Olsson (drums). Lyrics feature also Finnish and Swedish in addition to dominating English. Her compositions are modern jazz with ingredients from Nordic ethnic music, bebop and tango.

The opening title track is rather an introspective and moody song in slow tempo. The elegant arrangement favours piano and hi-hat plus some bass clarinet, but the focus is on the girlish and sensual voice of Ruohoniemi. 'Helsinki mun' (= My Helsinki) is her Finnish-language adaptation of Monica Zetterlund's Stockholm-inspired 'Sakta vi gå genom stan'. The combo plays excellently together and there's a suitable amount of emotion.

'Jag vet en dejlig rosa' is a slow piece, and if I'm not mistaken, of traditional origins. The playing flows in a melancholic, wandering manner. 'Dance of Life' has a pretty traditional vocal jazz sound, reminding me of 'Is You Or Is You Ain't My Baby'. A lengthy saxophone solo is followed by a bass solo.

'Slavic Heart' is a vividly pouring, melodic composition. 'Tango Variaté' is basically an instrumental with wordless chanting, perhaps my favourite piece, and definitely the most dynamic in its alteration between calmness and more energetic moments. Another highlight is the closing song 'No One's Coming' for its strong, introspective mood.

A recommendable album for those wishing to find stylistically eclectic Nordic vocal jazz with female vocalists, alongside artists such as Viktoria Tolstoy, Ira Kaspi, Jeanette Lindström, Lisa Ekdahl and Sidsel Endresen. However, Ruohoniemi's slightly naiive vocal expression takes a half star away from my four stars for not exactly being up to my personal taste.
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