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Pekka Pohjola - Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva / Harakka Bialoipokku CD (album) cover


Pekka Pohjola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.24 | 10 ratings

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Eetu Pellonpaa
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
4 stars This was the first incarnation of Pekka Pohjola's two earliest albums on CD, and they certainly offer some nice keyboard driven jazzy instrumental music supported with strong wind section. My own favourite is his first album, but the second coming along doesn't hurt either.

"Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva" (The Resiniferous Eyed Barken Eared ?!)

The first album starts with a song called "Metsonpeliä" (Capercaillies Games). It opens with a dynamic jazz theme having fast and complex bass lines. This stuff should please those fans of symphonic music, who are not allergic to elements of jazz music. After two and a half minutes of composed rollercoaster ride there comes space for improvisational playing of the rhythm section, and it's evident that Pekka is truly a suberb bass guitar virtuoso. feeling of the violent part could be seen through the name of the song, which refers to the mating displays of capercaillies, a black forest birds related to chicken, who are so aggressive that they attack even humans whilst in their mating frenzy. After six minutes of rhythmic duel of bass and drums, the delightful composed theme returns to end the track.

"Virtojen kiharat" (Curls of The Current) starts with a nice classical piano theme, which is soon joined by Jukka Gustavson's jazzy keyboard maneuvers. This sounds very much like Wigwam's "Fairypoirt" album. Winds and violin plays carefully composed themes, so there's not much of improvisational jamming here. The feeling is very positive and energetic. "Armoton Idylli" (Merciless Idyl) has some influences of Finnish traditional folk music, the tune is quite happy and a fun feeling emerges from it. Though this track has a jazzy style in it too, I'm sure that this could be played directly from exact notes.

"Nipistys" (Pinch) and "Valittaja" (Moaner) form a long ending track, and the first part of it was played also by Wigwam on stage, managing to do very successful performance of it presented on their "Live Music from The Twilight Zone" and their latest 2CD compilation. Yet again theme with typical melodic and rhythmic styles of Pekka opens this longer composition duo. The violin work resembles Jean-Luc Ponty's works I have heard from Frank Zappa's records, which have probably been an innovator for Pekka. Here we also get some improvised solos from the tenor wind instruments upon the fine rhythm section groove. The composition switches to the another phase via shorter piano interlude, where we get some wah-wah treated bass lead over a piano driven waltz, which turns as very sensual, mellow and quiet jazz movement, which evolves to a more denser beat resembling a successful love making process. I'm sure that the bass guitar gets an orgasm at the end of this long jam. The composition ends to a variation of the opening theme on church organs. This fits nicely with the cover done by Pekka's bassist comrade Mats Huldén, which resembles glass paintings of old churches. Sadly Pekka has chosen to end this album with a fade out, and not a composed grand finale. Nevertheless I consider this album as an absolute masterpiece, and it is yet the best album from the family of Wigwam musician's solo records I have heard.

"Harakka Bialoipokku" (B The Magpie)

In "Alku" (the beginning) a careful piano chords paint a picture of a small magpie waking up in it's nest, being yet unaware of all of the good and terrible things of the outer world which it will soon face. "Ensimmäinen aamu" (The First Morning) gives a cold shower of the harder aspects of the (un)civilized world, and there are more oppressing feelings in the beginning, soon followed by the wind sections composed themes, one of Pekka's trademarks. A sound of Finnish jazz is audible in the melodies here strongly, and the bass work is just fabulous. When compared to the 1972 album, this record has somehow clearer and colder sounds in it.

On "Huono sää / Se tanssii..." (Bad Weather / It Dances.) a sad classical piano creates a feeling of a grey rainy day. These moods are then arranged for the whole band, which plays slow minor notes. This is a very moody and affecting part, which starts slowly to grow with power. The dance part brings an interesting contrast to the first moods of this song, as it moves to more uplifting direction in march rhythms. Then in "...Ja Näkee Unta (..And Has A Dream) the chords continue the happy mood with straight beat from the drums, but the winds give some interesting minor tunes between them. Here we hear again some Finnish traditional influences, which are surely also one of Pekka's characteristics in music making process. There's also a strong theme for low ranged winds in the middle section.

"Hereilläkin Uni Jatkuu (The Dream Continues Even While Being Awake) is a fast energetic piano driven tune, with great composed themes for wind section. It's interesting how little there is left space for soloing over here, Pekka has had a very strong vision what he wanted on this record. Though I'm very fond of improvisation, I can't do else but take off my hat to him, if I would use a hat. There is another section with different rhythm at the end of this track, and now there's also an improvised solo over it. Pekka had gathered the true cream of Finnish sax players here: Eero Koivistoinen, Pekka Pöyry and Paroni Paakkunainen. Thus this album could be an interesting record to be listened for those, who are interested of Finnish jazz music too. "Sekoilu Seestyy" (Freak-Outing Calms Down) is a slow and moody ballad, where first keyboards do a peaceful chord process, and then Coste Apetra does an impressionistic guitar solo over it. There's also some bass soloing at the end of the track. The solo is technically OK, but I don't like the sound of the bass, I think there's some kind of effect used on it.

The last track "Elämä Jatkuu" (Life Goes On) returns to the feelings of the first morning and bad weather, but in a calmer and more melancholic manner. Maybe the experiences of life have now matured the magpie? After this there's yet one more great classic jazz theme coming up over the piano driven basic track, and then there's some furious and wonderful tunes of saxes blowing their noses, like how late Mr. Zappa would have said it. Luckily also the song finds it finale from a predefined theme, and not from a fade out, concluding it firmly.

The audio quality of this reissue is not very good, but if you find this 1990 pressed CD from the shop of used records, you can get these fabulous albums for a cheap price. I would recommend them for fans of both jazz rock and symphonic music, as I feel that these works have qualities from both of these styles merged. Also those who have liked the early works of Wigwam, or who are interested of vintage Finnish art rock, should check out these albums, or at least "Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva".

Eetu Pellonpaa | 4/5 |


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