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Jukka Tolonen - The Hook CD (album) cover


Jukka Tolonen

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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5 stars - First Review of this Album -

This is the third solo album by the most legendary guitar hero in the Finnish prog history (in addition to a large and respected solo career - mainly in Fusion - he was a key member of TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI). Already the list of musicians is very promising: Esa Kotilainen (moog, clavinet, accordion), Pekka Pyry (saxes, flute), four other blowers, and the rhythm section of Heikki Virtanen and Esko Rosnell. Tolonen himself plays also piano. The music was recorded in Stockholm's Marcus Music AB and produced by Mns Groundstroem.

The nearly 13-minute 'Aurora Borealis' is a gorgeous celebration of excellent musicianship, and it gives a lot of attention to various instruments - both in combo playing and in soli - in the slightly funky environment. Wow! What a moog solo and drum work! Perhaps the groove continues a bit too long occasionally.

'Starfish' is equally energetic Fusion, loaded with reeds and brass. Full of musical joy that makes you feel happy. The band is just fantastic. All of them. 'The Sea' slows the pace graciously. Nice laid-back groove starring piano, accompanied by the rest of the group in perfect balance. The flute solo... lovely, lovely! The title track starts in a very funky manner and gives the main attention to Tolonen's technical excellence on guitar. This is my least favourite track but still quite interesting as it proceeds.

The relatively brief (3:15) closing track 'Together' is mellow, emotional ballad focusing on piano but containing also nice guitar sounds. I think this album has deserved full rating. In a word, Top Class Fusion in an international scale!

Report this review (#1186315)
Posted Friday, June 6, 2014 | Review Permalink
Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is solo album number three for guitarist extraordinaire Jukka Tolonen. The man can play multiple instruments and is a great composer as well. Probably why he was in the mighty WIGWAM and TASAVALAN PRESIDENTTI while doing his solo stuff. There are five horn players on this 1974 release playing various saxes along with trombone and trumpet. Flute too along with clavinet, moog and accordion besides the usual rock instruments.

The album cover represents this opener "Aurora Borealis" and it made me realize that it has decades since I've seen the northern lights. I grew up where you could see the northern sky over Georgian Bay and we saw them several times. This track is the longest one by far at almost 13 minutes. A nice heavy sound from the keyboards here as drums support, horns and synths will also take part. A catchy melody takes over just before 1 1/2 minutes and it's sax led. Back to the previous soundscape as contrasts continue. The guitar starts to solo over top then we get a calm with nothing but piano left. It then starts to build as bass and drums join the piano, then synths sounding melancholic which I like. Soprano sax takes the lead around 7 1/2 minutes then it's the guitar's turn before 9 1/2 minutes as Jukka lights it up.

The other two songs I really like are first "The Sea" with the opening and closing atmosphere that is quite heavy. Piano joins in then drums and bass. Flute will lead then guitar as well as a couple of horns in there as well soloing over top. My favourite is the title track "The Hook" with the many intricate sounds that come and go to begin with sounding very cool actually. The guitar is so good on this one as Jukka just plays and plays. Nice bass later on.

Another solid release from one of Finland's best guitarists.

Report this review (#2509988)
Posted Monday, March 1, 2021 | Review Permalink

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