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Pekka Pohjola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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Pekka Pohjola Visitation album cover
4.13 | 179 ratings | 10 reviews | 41% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
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Studio Album, released in 1979

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Strange Awakening (5:11)
2. Vapour Trails (4:44)
3. Image of a Passing Smile (5:38)
4. Dancing in the Dark (5:39)
5. The Sighting (3:32)
6. Try to Remember (7:10)

Total Time 31:54

Line-up / Musicians

- Pekka Pohjola / grand piano, bass, arranger & co-producer

- Seppo Tyni / guitar (2-6)
- Olli Ahvenlahti / electric piano & bass (2), grand piano (6)
- Pekka Poyry / saxophone (1-3,5), soprano saxophone solo (1,4)
- Juhani Aaltonen / saxophone (1,3,5)
- Eero Koivistoinen / saxophone (1,3,5)
- Teemu Salminen / saxophone (1,3,5)
- Tom Bildo / tuba (3), trombone (6)
- Markku Johansson / trumpets (4,6)
- Aale Lindgren / oboe (5)
- Vesa Aaltonen / drums, percussion (2-4)
- Esko Rosnell / percussion (2-4)
- Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra / woodwinds & strings (3,6)
- Esko Linnavalli / conductor (3,6)
- Jorma Ylönen / concertmaster (3,6)

Releases information

Artwork: Risto Kurkinen

LP Dig It ‎- DIGLP 4 (1979, Finland)
LP Svart Records ‎- SVR324 (2015, Finland)

CD Fazer Music ‎- 220222 (1993, Finland) Remastered by Rogi Renwall
CD Warner Music ‎- 5050466-8805-2-9 (2003, Europe) 24-bit remaster by Minerva Pappi

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to projeKct for the last updates
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Buy PEKKA POHJOLA Visitation Music

PEKKA POHJOLA Visitation ratings distribution

(179 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(41%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(37%)
Good, but non-essential (16%)
Collectors/fans only (3%)
Poor. Only for completionists (3%)

PEKKA POHJOLA Visitation reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by Progbear
5 stars At last, Pekka Pohjola had been allowed to give his imagination free-rein. This is Pohjola at his most creative and innovative. With no limits placed on what he could and couldn't do, this is an all-out production that totally achieves what it sets out to do.

Joined not only by a brass section this time, but also by the strings and woodwinds of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, he at last achieves the synthesis of symphonic orchestration and jazzy soloing. "Third-stream jazz", the old heads would call it. Also important players are keysman Olli Ahvenlahti and virtuoso guitarist Seppo Tyni, Pohjola's compatriots in his fusion-oriented side-project, The Group. Tyni's rather McLaughlin-esque guitar soloing is the icing on the cake here, adding a delectable timbre to an already delicious dish.

Choosing high points on such a fine album is hard to do, but album-closer "Try To Remember" is classic Pohjola, building gradually from gentle oboe and string caresses to a maelstrom of fury and excitement. It's the next step above "Elämä jatkuu". Shortcomings? I can't think of any! In fact, if the album has any disadvantage at all, it's that it's too damned short, at a paltry 32 minutes! One wishes it would go on forever.

In summation: an ambitious album that, for once, achieves its lofty goals, and in spectacular style to boot. It's albums like this that are the reason we listen to prog for in the first place. Absolute highest recommendation!

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars This is Pekka's fourth album and many feel this is his best effort. I still prefer the first two albums to this one but having said that, this is an excellent album. Lots of horns (sax, trombone, trumpet and tuba) and some strings too. I like the guitar work as well from Seppo Tyni. Hey it's all good. Pekka as usual is on bass and keyboards.

"Strange Awakening" opens with piano before the drums and some powerful outbursts come and go. Horns after a minute and they sound really good after 2 minutes. The contrast of the sound calming down then kicking in continues. Nice bass and drum work 4 minutes in. Great tune ! "Vapour Trails" features pounding drums as the guitar plays over top. Piano and bass fill out the sound. Horns 3 minutes in in this uptempo track.

"Images Of A Passing Smile" opens with horns and aboe as bass and cymbals play along. Strings come in then we get a fuller sound before 1 1/2 minutes as the guitar and piano stand out. It settles then kicks in again. "Dancing In The Dark" is my least favourite. It's a catchy drum / percussion / piano / horn soundscape. Guitar before 1 1/2 minutes then horns lead before the guitar returns. Nice bass late. "The Sighting" sounds good when it kicks in with horns but it's brief. Aboe arrives before it kicks in once again. "Try To Remember" has a mellow intro then it turns melancholic. It sounds better after 3 minutes as it brightens some. The horns before 4 1/2 minutes sound great.

I can't give this anything less then 4 stars, but it's a low four stars.

Review by octopus-4
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
5 stars This album left me speachless at the first listen. It has all the goods that I have previously found in "Mathematical Air Display", or better its reprint as a Mike Oldfield's album and this is more or less what I was expecting. What I have found is much more. There's a lot of everything. "Strange Awakening is slowly opened by piano in a way similar to "The Sighted Light" and after a couple of minutes grows fully jazz. It's a great opener which gives a clear idea of this album's quality.

"Vapour Trails" is a masterpiece of progressive fusion. Even if skillfully played it's easy enough to be liked by newbies, too. There's no self-indulgence from any musician and this results in a sort of very artistic easy-listening. The sax section reminds me to another album that I love very much that's Soft Machine's "Land Of Cockayne", even of old Machine's fans would surely disagree with me.

"Image Of Passing Smile" is a classic Pohjola track. It goes through various moments and subgenres. It's based on samba-like rhythm but has some grotesque moments, quite theathral.

"Dancing In The Dark" is mainly fusion with rock moments in the guitar riffs and one of the best bass solos ever performed by Pekka.

"The Sighting" is shorter and even if good seems like a filler lost between all this great material.

"Try To Remember" similarily to Strange Awakening starts with a repetitive theme that grows slightly from acoustic guitar, percussions and of course, bass then becomes orchestral with the brass section and once "at regime" there's room for a beautiful bass riff. Like the best Pohjola's tracks it changes several times and what is incredible is the ability to mantain the listener in the same state of mind even with pieces of music totally different one from each other. It's not a patchwork of short pieces. It flows as a single thing, something that also the big ones sometimes failed to achieve.

Is it a must have ? I think so. Strongly suggested to who is not familiar with JR/F, as a starting point.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Having spent two albums edging away from the comedic, Zappa-inspired whimsicality of his debut solo album, Pohjola injects a sense of fun back into his music with Visitation, particularly on the energetic and almost funky Dancing In the Dark. What's particularly notable here is that at this point the overt Frank Zappa homages are entirely out of the picture, Pohjola having arrived at his own distinctive style of fusion which is expressed with style and verve over the course of the album. Without any guest stars of the stature of Mike Oldfield to overshadow him, Visitation is purely Pohjola through and through, and an excellent expression of his maturing musical personality.
Review by apps79
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars By the time ''Keesojen lehto'' was released Pohjola became involved in yet another Finnish Jazz Fusion supergroup, simply called The Group.He would team up again with Olli Ahvenlahti for this project, so what more reasonable than to invite him to participate in his next solo album.As The Group released the only album on the Dig It label, Pohjola would follow the same line with ''Visitation''.Fellow The Group guitarist Seppo Tyni would also play on this one, which sees Pohjola reinviting a huge wind and horn section of guest musicians and collaborating with the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra in two cuts.The album was recorded early in 1979 and was launched later in the year.

Stylistically there were less than expected changes compared to the previous album, but the sound was somewhat redefined, because the electric piano now played a major role instead of other keyboards and the album contains powerful sax, trumpet and trombone parts within the orchestral arrangements.So, the name of the game here is another Symphonic/Fusion/Jazz Rock affair with some great guitar parts -maybe the jazzier element of the whole album- beautiful electric piano and a fantastic, solid and dynamic rhythm section, led by Pohjola and Vesa Aaltonen.There are still some lovely FOCUS underlines, especially when Classical and jazzy flavors are combined, the orchestrations are well-crafted and the atmosphere is reminiscent of the front cover: a sci-fi/fantasy one, reflecting fairly on the imaginative music here, propelled by tons of melodies, quirky cinematic edges and big orchestral movements.Speaking of the album's symphonic tunes, these are reminiscent of British solo artists like GORDON GILTRAP or even STEVE HACKETT, but the music here is more playful and virtuosic due to Pohjola's constant love for jazzy colors.''Vapour trails'' and ''Dancing in the dark'' shine through for being excellent examples of energetic, intense and rich Fusion with some pounding bass lines and impressive guitar work.

We've reached the 80's here and Pohjola kept producing qualitive works with progressive extensions.The most consistent musician of the whole Finnish Prog/Jazz Rock scene, returning with another beautiful work of orchestral Symphonic/Jazz Rock.Strongly recommended...3.5 stars.

Review by Matti
4 stars PEKKA POHJOLA's fourth album Visitation is regarded by many as his finest, "the true musical fruition his early albums had clearly promised" (Robert Silverstein's liner notes, originally on Warner's CD re-release, unimaginatively circulated also on Svart Records' recent vinyl gatefold release). I personally prefer the debut Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva (1972), but this one indeed is more energetic and modern, more virtuotic and bold, sonically more brilliant, and it contains both the guitar that was absent on the debut and the woodwind/brass that was absent on the Oldfield-collaboration Keesojen Lehto (1977). One sad thing is the shorness of this album: 32 minutes.

I'm not going to argue against all the hype, but much of the music is not exactly up to my taste, not the Pohjola style I'm fond of; it's slightly too sharp and brassy at the cost of the more introspective & emotional side, with the clearest exception in the lovely closing tune 'Try to Remember'. I openly admit that my fourth star is more objective than subjective, but no less deserved anyway: anyone declaring Visitation a masterpiece is absolutely right, at least if (s)he truly loves it personally.

Only six tracks in total, why not some words on each. 'Strange Awakening' has a great sound especially in the beginning featuring an echoed piano, and the soprano sax solo by Pekka Pöyry is awesome as is the outstanding bass near the end, but as a composition per se it could be a bit less repetitive. 'Vapour Trails' is very adrenalin-dosed jazz rocker in which guitarist Seppo Tyni (Pohjola's bandmate from The Group) takes the leading role.

'Image...' has a semi-melancholic depth which is occasionally buried in the guitar/brass-heavy arrangement; with more elegant and introspective approach throughout the track I'd enjoy it even more, but those fond of virtuoso playing will find a lot to enjoy here. Very bold and rhythmic 'Dancing in the Dark' is my least fave track, graced by e.g. Markku Johansson's trumpet solo. Guitar is again unnecessarily loud. 'The Sighting' opens interestingly without guitars and percussion but the arrangement becomes again quite heavy. Aale Lindgren's oboe is a nice detail in it.

Finally the intimate and introspective side takes over in the beginning of the marvelous 'Try to Remember': this would also function as an example of a masterful and extremely rich arrangement. It features the woodwinds and strings of The Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra. Here the various instruments are not climbing on each other's neck as on the more hectic tracks, instead the arrangement has several phases using different instruments. A masterpiece combining the emotion, virtuosity and grandiosity, and one of the finest Pekka ever composed. Risto Kurkinen's cover drawing is not as good as on Keesojen Lehto, but it definitely works better on the vinyl format.

Review by admireArt
3 stars Pekka Pohjola's "Visitation", 1977, is not exactly the best place to start Pohjola's aquaintance, music composition wise. Better yet check on the flawless and clockwise performances by each member at every single moment. Amazing!

It's songwriting travels all the expected routes and shares the expected amount of atonalities and abrupt speed fast detours to be featured in a Prog page.

A perfectly threaded prog-eclectic-Rock/Jazz approach which includes a fusion of Latin flavors, "classic" Jazz and non prog strictly influences like Classical music and Big Band Jazz or Swing.

Once you see beyond its apparent "stiffness", you will notice its charms, yet the catchy riffs, more than once, are more annoying than catching, but its comedy like instrumental irreverence saves it from being just that.

Impeccable performances and a lot of spectacular highlights! Stick to that and start to imagine that maybe Mr. Frank Zappa will shed on some hilarious lyrics wherever he is.

3.5 PA stars.

Latest members reviews

5 stars This album will leave you speechless. It's a trip of wonderful moods and melodies. Strange Awakening: You find yourself in a melody which has the energy, sweetness, epicness, and a little bit of craziness. It's not sad, it'll never make you cry. It's Pekka Pohjola. It's incredible. The melody ... (read more)

Report this review (#565786) | Posted by talha | Thursday, November 10, 2011 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I finally got the remastered (2003) of this beauty. Wow, the whole album is great, but the last song - Try to remember - is just definitive Pekka Pohjola. The blending of real brass/woodwinds/strings is what makes this that unique experience in the catalogue of Pekka's. Not that he doesn't do ... (read more)

Report this review (#212836) | Posted by tmay102436 | Wednesday, April 29, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars On the surface this is a stylistic return to an album Pohjola did 5 years before this one, heavy on winds plus additional strings. But so much progress can be heard since "B the Magpie" when it comes to the actual compositions and the performance. It is better balanced harmony and better musicians ... (read more)

Report this review (#132275) | Posted by Salviaal | Wednesday, August 8, 2007 | Review Permanlink

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