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Jukka Tolonen - Summer Games  CD (album) cover

SUMMER GAMES

Jukka Tolonen

Jazz Rock/Fusion


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Matti
COLLABORATOR
Neo-Prog Team
4 stars (A shame how few reviews Jukka Tolonen has gained here; again mine is the first one.)

A while ago I gave full rating to The Hook, the third solo album by the Finnish ex-virtuoso guitarist Jukka TOLONEN (born 1952). Recently I've listened to all of his four first albums and I still think The Hook is the best, as well as the fullest of lively Jazz / Fusion spirit. Probably the debut Tolonen! (1971) is his best remembered work, but in my opinion he matured as a composer especially in these early years. Georgie-award (that's a Finnish yearly award for jazz) winning Summer Games is again produced by Mĺns Groundstroem. At this time Tolonen was influenced by Chick Corea's Return To Forever and Mahavishnu Orchestra (and also Bo Hansson's Lord of the Rings!), but his music remains distinctively Finnish in nature, and is very much at home in the famous Love Records discography of the time.

This album is mellower and more romantic than the ones before and after it. 'Wedding Song' is a serene, relaxed tune that reminds of JADE WARRIOR at their most romantic. Acoustic guitar is accompanied by reeds (flute, soprano sax, trombone) and the rhythm section that stays in the background. A prog listener may get associations also to the soft side of the earliest KING CRIMSON. 'A Warm Trip With Taija' - Taija being his wife - is livelier and jazzier, and twice the length, thus allowing the various instruments have solistic space. Tolonen plays also Mini-Moog and tabla on this beautiful track.

'Impressions of India' starts with a lonely acoustic guitar; the percusions, flute and trombone enter later. A joyful, rather fast number with an Oriental flavour, but not among the best. 'Thinking of You in the Moonshine' slows down the tempo and offers a dreamy, nocturnal piece of music that is hard to pigeonhole into any specific genre. It's a deeply progressive composition that gets more energetic towards the end. The title track is lighthearted and playful like the second track, and the only one to feature Tolonen's piano. I can imagine it being played on an old TV film about people enjoying sunny summer (they often used to have jazz music in them). The final track 'See You (Missing My Baby)' is, as you guess, romantic and mellow, featuring just reeds and acoustic guitar. A nice ending to this beautiful album, which is all too short.

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Posted Monday, June 23, 2014 | Review Permalink

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