Matti P

Matti Pajuniemi
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Registered more than 2 years ago · Last visit 11 hours ago

Favorite Jazz Artists

All Reviews/Ratings

51 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
PAUL SIMON - Still Crazy After All These Years Pop/Art Song/Folk | review permalink
JEANETTE LINDSTROM - Jeanette Lindström Quintet : I Saw You Vocal Jazz | review permalink
CÆCILIE NORBY - First Conversation Vocal Jazz | review permalink
DAVID DARLING - Eight String Religion Jazz Related Improv/Composition | review permalink
ATTE AHO - Atte Aho 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
TONY BENNETT - Duets II Vocal Jazz | review permalink
JERE HAAKANA VARJOSTO - Jere Haakana Varjosto Jazz Related Rock | review permalink

See all reviews/ratings

Jazz Genre Nb. Rated Avg. rating
1 Pop/Art Song/Folk 13 3.65
2 Vocal Jazz 11 3.64
3 Fusion 7 4.00
4 Jazz Related Rock 6 3.33
5 Post-Fusion Contemporary 4 3.75
6 Bossa Nova 2 3.25
7 RnB 2 3.25
8 Third Stream 1 4.00
9 World Fusion 1 4.50
10 Avant-Garde Jazz 1 4.50
11 Jazz Related Improv/Composition 1 4.50
12 Progressive Big Band 1 3.50
13 Latin Jazz 1 4.00

Latest Albums Reviews

IRA KASPI You And The Night And The Music

Album · 2012 · Vocal Jazz
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This is the seventh album by the Finnish jazz vocalist IRA KASPI (b. 1964). Seemingly, surprisingly, it's still her latest. On her earlier albums she's more or less oriented towards new compositions made for her (sometimes also co-written by her), but this one's dedicated to international classics -- although not entirely. The musicians in "Jazz Diva Band" are pianist Mikael Jakobsson, Jussi Kannaste on tenor sax, Ape Anttila on guitar, bass and percussion and Markku Ounaskari on drums. "With Strings" refers to the Lohja Town Orchestra led by Esa Heikkilä.

On her debut album Inner Voices (2001) I sensed a little Suzanne Vega in her voice. I liked that, but I don't deny her expression has matured in eleven years.

Kaspi herself was especially pleased by the beautiful orchestration on the opening song 'Don't Go to Strangers'and I fully agree, it is gorgeous in its romantic feel. An obvious highlight. The title track where the arrangement focuses on the band has a nice atmosphere that makes you forget that the piece is so often covered. Slightly melancholic 'How Do You Keep Up the Light' was written by Kaspi and Anttila but it fits in harmonically among the standards.

I've heard great interpretations of 'Someday My Prince Will Come', by e.g. Cassandra Wilson, and IMHO this relatively lighthearted version loses the needed romantic aspect. 'The Gentle Rain' was composed by Luiz Bonfa and originally (?) performed by Astrud Gilberto whose soft expression I prefer. The orchestration is nice, though. 'Call Me Irresponsible' emphasizes the band, especially the sax.

'The Good Life' immediately makes me think of Tony Bennett. Kaspi's version also has romanticism in the delicate arrangement, making this one of the better tracks. After two further standards the album closes with another Kaspi-Anttila composition 'The Best Is Yet to Be Coming'. It is surprisingly uptempo and groovy, but apart from a cool piano solo it's not among my faves here.

All in all, I think years back I liked Kaspi's aforementioned debut over this one. I would have wanted more of the lush orchestrations that are at their finest in the opening piece, and the set feels slightly worn-out and unoriginal. Worth three stars anyway.


Album · 2022 · Fusion
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Guitarist ATTE AHO from Helsinki, Finland, was 27 years old at the time of releasing his eponymous debut album. He has played in several combos, not only in jazz but also in pop, e.g. vocalist Anna Abreu's group. With this solo album he proves to be a gifted composer in addition to being a great musician. His electric guitar is accompanied by Kasperi Kallio's keyboards, Mikko Kuorikoski's bass and Johannes Pakkala's drums. The all-instrumental album also features some guest performances, even some strings. Upon my very first impression I'm really charmed by the lush, bright, rich and elegant soundscape.

As a guitarist Aho recalls big names such as Jeff Beck, Carlos Santana and perhaps slightly David Gilmour -- not that he'd imitate anyone. We're dealing with rock oriented fusion with a fairly melodic and accessible approach, by which I definitely don't imply this music to be simple or diluted. The vibrant jazz groove is there. Atte Aho's many-sided background as a musician in the popular field surely shows here in a good way, the same way as with Jeff Beck.

There are eight tracks on this 50-minute album. The track lengths are between 4:49 and 7:35. 'Labyrinth' is an excellent opener and a good example of what's on offer. The guitar has the lead role but the keybaords and the rhythm section are not left in the background. Everyone plays excellently. The dynamic sound is juicy, nuanced and enjoyably airy instead of being stuffy in the least. On 'Ulan Bator' the spotlight is momentarily on the electric piano.

Already on the third composition 'Wave' the listener is guaranteed that there's also a more emotional and sensitive level to the music. 'Guidance' is a beautiful, slow and mellow piece. The more energetic side is showcased on the aptly titled 'Elastic Energy', and even it maintains a good balance without becoming too hectic. The sound is at times very big and bold but never crosses the line of being overblown and self-indulgent.

I'm very pleased that I accidentally found this artist and album. without a doubt this is among the finest jazz/fusion albums of recent years that I've listened to. A pure delight to ears, mind and heart. Let's leave a half star's growing space for future releases.


Album · 1992 · RnB
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The ratings of SADE albums seem to go a slight downfall, ie. the debut Diamond Life (1984) is the highest rated, and each later album scores a bit lower than the preceding one. Sade's biggest hits -- 'Smooth Operator', 'Your Love is King' etc -- indeed came early in the career. Love Deluxe is the band's fourth album. I deliberately speak of the British band, even though Sade can also refer to the gorgeous, Nigerian-born singer Sade Adu, as it undoubtedly does in the wide public. But practically it was a group effort. The songs were mainly composed together by Adu, saxophonist-guitarist Stuart Matthewman, keyboardist Andrew Hale and, to a lesser degree, bassist Paul Spencer Denman.

While the third album Stronger Than Pride (1988) had a bit more edge, Love Deluxe returns to the soft and sensitive coolness, and does it very pleasantly in my opinion. The opener 'No Ordinary Love' was the lead single released one month prior the album. I love its hypnotic and slightly melancholic atmosphere.

Sonically, songs such as 'Feel the Pain' and 'I Couldn't Love You More' come a bit closer to the bulk of r'n'b balladry, with a sticky beat I've never enjoyed. But Sade Adu's lovely voice easily lifts anything above the rest of the genre. The slow, spatial and dreamy 'Like a Tattoo' arrives just in time. Shivers!

The bright-toned 'Kiss of Life', the third single, is an enjoyable, solid Sade number. 'Cherish the Day' is again of the more average r'n'b stuff and continues on the thoroughly familiar path. The slow-tempo Adu-Hale composition 'Pearls' features an orchestral arrangement and is among the highligths. 'Bullet Proof Soul' has nice piano and rather cheesy sax. Instrumental (!) closing track 'Mermaid' paints an exotic, oceanic view.

This album may not quite be on the high level of the two first albums but is nevertheless essential for any fan who wants some more of the ear-candy.

DAVID DARLING Eight String Religion

Album · 1993 · Jazz Related Improv/Composition
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American cellist and composer DAVID DARLING (1941-2021) came into my radar as a collaborator of Norwegian pianist and composer Ketil Björnstad on his ECM albums The Sea (1995) and The Sea II (1998), alongside guitarist Terje Rypdal and drummer Jon Christensen. The spatially impressionistic and melancholic instrumental music on those albums made a deep impression on me in the late 90's, and if I remember right, soon afterwards I also found this solo album of Darling from the library. Otherwise his output is not familiar to me.

This aptly titled album indeed has almost a "sacred" feel of introspection. Released on the New Age label Hearts Of Space, it is a wholeheartedly NewAgey collaboration between Darling on cello, piano and other miscallenous instruments plus wordless voice, and the engineer/producer Mickey Houlihan who added some field recordings of mainly water and birds. This music is thoroughly peaceful, tender and soothing, but unlike much of the so called New Age Music, definitely not clichéd or calculated in a hollow way. Of course it always depends on the individual listener how any music reaches one's "inner spirit" or "soul". In my case, listening to this album is a truly beautiful and cleansing experience. The deep-voiced cello has the key role in the magical equation.

Not necessarily each of the eight (!) pieces are anything more than harmonic and beautiful sonic tapestry for relaxation, and that's ok. Because there are deeply impressive highlights too. 'Soft Light' functions perfectly as the opener with its slow-paced dueting between piano and cello's pizzicato. 'Clouds' takes one deeper into inner visions and emotions, with a slight Oriental feel in the melodies and the delicate use of voice.

My favourite is 'Sweet River' that starts with birdsong and gentle sounds of water. The piano plays a melancholic melody, the voice is heard occasionally, and before you realize your mind is floating along the river in a timeless, placeless way. The production is perfect, each little detail serves the whole. The light percussion is a bit reminiscent of the vases in the NITS album Ting (1992). On 'Sojourn' the soft repeated pattern makes me think of BRIAN ENO at his most delicate -- yes, Ambient is another fitting category for this album -- while the cello wails beautifully at its top register, making allusions to the aforementioned The Sea albums.

On the final piece 'Remember' the voice is at its most central, in both the melodic and the sonic sense. No proper words, just d's and wovels. To sum things up, I warmly recommend this album if you appreciate calm introspection in music, the sound of cello, the ECM-like spatial production, and the Ambient genre, and are not put off by the term New Age or the sound effects of nature.

JEFF BECK Jeff Beck & Johnny Depp : 18

Album · 2022 · Jazz Related Rock
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The last studio album of the legendary guitarist Jeff Beck (r.i.p. January 2023) was the first one since Loud Hailer (2016). It is a collaboration with Johnny Depp (b. 1963), best known as one of the most succesful movie actors of his generation. Without any knowledge on Depp's musical activities, I expected his contribution to be mainly that of a vocalist, but besides Beck obviously on lead guitars, Depp actually is the most prolific player of various instruments on this album. It's titled 18 because the creative process made the two feel young again.

Beck's distinctive electric guitar, which appears also on Roger Waters' Amused to Death (1992), gives the album's overall sound a slight resemblance to latter-day Pink Floyd here and there, but when it comes to song material, this is a widely varied set of 13 tracks. The serene instrumental opener 'Midnight Walker' composed by Davy Spillane could as well appear on a Floyd album. The first proper song 'The Death and resurrection Show' is an aggressively noisy industrial rock piece originally of Killing Joke.

'Time' (Dennis Wilson / K. L. Wilson) feels badly overproduced at places, but the calm, slow tempo backbone of the song is pretty nice and Depp's singing is pleasant. 'Sad Mother****in' Parade' is credited to Beck and Depp. It doesn't feature singing per se but spoken voice over the heavy-thumping, programmed soundscape. This far the album feels very perplexing in a negative way. 'Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)' is a Beach Boys song from their classic album Pet Sounds, and this atmospheric version relies mostly on Beck's wailing guitar and much less on vocals.

The album's other original new piece 'This Is a Song for Miss Hedy Lamarr' (Lamarr was an Austrian-born actress and scientific inventor) was written by Johnny Depp with Tommy Henriksen who plays the keyboards on it. A decent minor song. Funnily, against my above mentioned expectations on Depp's role, he seems to be pushing himself back as a vocalist, perhaps to underline his musician's role.

For the song material from the 60's and 70's, in my opinion things get better for the album's latter half, even if the vocals do remain in a minor role. 'Caroline, No', another Pet Sounds perennial, has been turned into a poshy platform for Beck's guitar. 'Ooo Baby Baby' is a Smokey Robinson song and among the most gratifying tunes for vocal-oriented listeners. The rest of the songs cover Marvin Gaye ('What's Going On' -- pretty good but far from the excellence of the original), Velvet Underground ('Venus in Furs'), King Curtis ('Let It Be Me'), Janis Ian ('Stars' -- a beautiful, serene highlight) and John Lennon ('Isolation' -- among the most faithful cover tunes here).

Jeff Beck fans can enjoy this album without fearing that some Hollywood star on vocals is trying to steal the spotlight. The song material and the way it's presented varies almost painfully at first but in the end offers a fairly pleasant if a bit overproduced set.

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