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Various Artists (Tributes) - Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band: Studio Live CD (album) cover


Various Artists (Tributes)


Various Genres

3.95 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Vesa Aaltonen is undoubtedly Finland's most legendary prog drummer. His memoirs were released in 2019 when he had already founded the project Vesa Aaltonen Prog Band to play live the music of the prog acts he was involved in. This "studio live" album contains new recordings of compositions originating from the albums of Tasavallan Presidentti, Pekka Pohjola, Made In Sweden and two more.

The versions are pretty faithful to the originals (I believe you can better tell them by the clean production rather than the musical interpretation itself, but I admit I didn't make concentrated listening comparisons), so the most notable differences concern the vocals. This 12-track album is roughly half sung, half instrumental. The prog maestro Jukka Gustavson -- who also plays the organ on the first piece -- sings on the vocal tracks of Tasavallan Presidentti (originally sung by either Frank Robson or Eero Raittinen). Seemingly Gustavson's vocal credits are mistakenly marked also to the instrumental fusion piece 'Vapour Trails' (from Pekka Pohjola's Visitation, 1979). Ella Tepponen sings on two tracks originating from the album Where Do We Begin (1976) by Made In Sweden, where the vocalist was Tommy Körberg. For me the addition of female vocals is the most welcome fresh detail.

The compositions of Tasavallan Presidentti get the lion's share on the set list. My favourites from them would have been quite different, but generally this album functions very well as a coherent collection of the 70's prog/fusion of the artists in question. For the older generation who experienced that original prog era (or who have found it retrospectively decades ago like me), this project is surely filled with nostalgia, but this music itself is timeless, and this album may open new paths for the young prog-friendly generation to explore further. I'm hesitatingh between 3 and 4 stars; let's say it's 3˝ rounded upwards.

P.S. Of the "two more" artists mentioned earlier: The Group was a mid/late-70's fusion group of seasoned prog/jazz musicians. 'Gado-Gado' from their sole album sounds very good and dynamic here. The final piece is 'Peaches En Regalia' originally from the Frank Zappa album Hot Rats (1969). No, Vesa Aaltonen didn't play on Zappa's albums; I suppose this choice refers to Pori Jazz 1982 where Aaltonen momentarily played with Zappa. [This is my educated guess regarding the CD label, sadly it's not easy to affirmate it by googling.]

Matti | 4/5 |


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