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JUKKA GUSTAVSON

Jazz Rock/Fusion • Finland


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Jukka Gustavson biography
Jukka GUSTAVSON (born 1951) is one of the key figures in the Finnish prog history. After participations as a vocalist and an organist in several bands in Porvoo or Helsinki area he joined WIGWAM in the summer of 1969. His contribution to four classic WIGWAM albums (Hard N' Horny 1969, Tombstone Valentine 1970, Fairyport 1971 and Being 1974) is essential. GUSTAVSON's style was fruitfully different from the other leading member, British-born Jim PEMBROKE, who leaned towards tighter, pop-oriented song structures. GUSTAVSON wrote more esoteric and jazzier music, and he was often compared to his main influence Steve WINWOOD of TRAFFIC, especially as a vocalist. The ultimate WIGWAM classic, Being, is for the most part GUSTAVSON's work. Both GUSTAVSON and bassist Pekka POHJOLA left WIGWAM in favour of notable solo careers, whereas WIGWAM changed the style considerably towards pop under the guidance of Jim PEMBROKE and the new guitarist Pekka RECHARDT (Nuclear Nightclub 1975 was a big commercial success).

Jukka GUSTAVSON started his solo output with the album ....jaloa ylpeyttä yletän.... ylevää nöyryyttä nousen (1978); the title could be translated Noble pride I reach... sublime humility I rise. The music was composed for the ballet work Yksin yhdessä (Alone Together) and it reflects GUSTAVSON's interpretations of the Bible. Next year he became a Jehovah's Witness. Instrumental album Valon vuoksi (1979) was composed for a dance piece coreographed by his wife Leena GUSTAVSON. Third album Toden toistoa (1981) features also vocals, but the music is bright and airy fusion.

The next album came over a decade later: Bluesion (1992) puts emphasis on piano and features some experimental pieces with sound effects and speech parts. In my opinion that album suffers from too sparse instrumentation and a lack of direction, but the fifth album Kadonnut häviämättömiin (1995; Lost in the imperishable) is among his very best. It also could be described as progressive rock instead of a stronger jazz orientation which he has favoured in this millennium.

GUSTAVSON plays several keyboards including electric piano, Hammond and Moog, and he is considered one of the finest keyboardists in the Finnish jazz scene. Without a question he deserves a place in the ProgArchives category of Jazz Rock/Fusion as a highly personal musician with a many-sided output full of progressive elements.

Written by Matti (Matti Pajuniemi)


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JUKKA GUSTAVSON discography


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JUKKA GUSTAVSON top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.12 | 6 ratings
... Jaloa Ylpeyttä Yletän... Ylevää Nöyryyttä Nousen
1978
4.75 | 3 ratings
Valon Vuoksi
1979
4.17 | 6 ratings
Toden Toistoa
1981
3.09 | 3 ratings
Bluesion - Sinijuurta etsimässä klisee-viidakon vilinässä
1992
4.82 | 5 ratings
Kadonnut Häviämättömiin
1995
2.00 | 1 ratings
Moments
1999
2.05 | 2 ratings
Between Fire And Ice
2003
3.96 | 4 ratings
Kiiltomato, Kynttilänliekki, Kuu ja Aurinko
2005
4.00 | 2 ratings
Toinen Maisema (with Hottoe)
2006
4.00 | 1 ratings
Community Jazz
2009
4.74 | 4 ratings
Root & Stalk & Flower Music
2012
4.00 | 1 ratings
Mountain Information (Jukka Gustavson & Hoedown)
2014

JUKKA GUSTAVSON Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

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JUKKA GUSTAVSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Mountain Information (Jukka Gustavson & Hoedown) by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Mountain Information (Jukka Gustavson & Hoedown)
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mortte

— First review of this album —
4 stars When hearing Jukka made a solo album with roots-oriented Hoedown, I had doubts. I was glad when I was wrong. Even this is the most easylistening Gustavson solo album, it´s really enjoyable and includes many highlights.

The Title song starts the album with the strong atmosphere. The next "Easy Task" is funk song about love. Both songs reminds little bit the Band, but specially the latter is a little bit mediocre. To me album really starts with next "Love Peace Field Reel". It reminds Fairport Convention with it´s folkprog. Poijärvi plays violin in a very great way, also Jukka´s organ playing are skillful. "A Small Brook Has Grown..." coming next is the best song in this album. In it´s instrument prog it reminds Jukka´s greatest works, Poijärvi´s violin and Jukka´s keyboards make again a huge work. In this song are also very classic music sound piano parts. Other highlights of the album are "I Need You Need Love Supreme" & "Our Fathers Land". The first is beautiful, simple lovesong where Jukka and Ninni sing absolutely charming duet. The latter bring together Jukkasounding chords and Winwood influenced verses. "Our Fathers Land" is more a song against the nature´s destroying than patriotic song. "Howlin Wolf & Blind Tigers" is the only piece that not sounds Jukka at all (he´s not even singing in it). Album ends well into Traffic-influenced "The Law That Belongs to Freedom" and beatiful lovesong "My Sweet Nature Girl"

If there had leaved songs out and made this album shorter, this album would have been as excellent as Jukka´s previous album. Now it´s only very good. Anyway this could be excellent starter to someone who hasn´t heard any of Jukka`s music. Specially if the one´s not like jazz music at all.

 Community Jazz by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2009
4.00 | 1 ratings

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Community Jazz
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mortte

— First review of this album —
4 stars Unlike the album name, this is not a comparison with Jukka´s jazz albums "Moments" or "Between Fire & Ice" at least fully. There are many jazz songs, but also songs from the variety of style, also in jazz-songs there are same kind of fusion elements as in Jukka´s other solo albums. The nearest of earlier albums to this is "Toden Toistoa" although Jukka is playing hammond much more than that album and also two earlier albums. The production of this album is very great, I really like those very organic sounds. There are two orchestras playing with Jukka: Organ Fusion Band and Björkheim-Gustavson Quarted, but you don´t really notice at all when the orchestra changes. Jukka is singing only in English this album

One of the highlights in this album is starter "Cohesion Promotion". It´s one of those Jukka´s bright, cheerful and very flowing instrumentals he´s made also before. "Human Rights" reminds "Walkin`& Talkin`" from "Between Fire & Ice" but it works much better with much more organic sounds. Also it has very beautiful guitar solo from Björkenheim. Jukka is singing about human rights but also the rights of the animals. "Every Child Needs Love" is a Stevie Wonder-piece with a lovely text about children sung by very soulful vocals. "Highlights Of an Ordinary Day" goes towards blues, but works much better than Jukka´s songs on Finnish blues band called S F Blues. "Man Of Honour" is a slow reggae and includes the most personal text from Jukka. "Cohesion Swing Report" and "Blue Grace" are jazz instrumentals, but include very great fusion parts with great saxophone solos. The ending "In a Godless Hurry All the Time" is avantgardejazz piece and the least interesting for the progfans.

This albums is not as great as Jukka´s two first solos, but among his bests anyway. For the Jukka´s fans that don´t like his visits to the rootsmusic this of course can be disappointment.

 Moments by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1999
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Moments
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mortte

— First review of this album —
2 stars This is Jukka´s most jazzy solo album. There wasn´t a long time he bought himself original hammond organ, so this is a true celebration album to the Jukka´s hammond playing friends. The album includes many styles of jazz, including free-jazz, swing, shuffle even avantgarde-jazz in "Time must". The greatest parts of progfans are in the end of the album. Yksi Suru, Yksi Riemu reminds in it´s freeform Wigwam from the beginning of the seventies, also straight continuing version of Yesterday is great in it´s soulful vocals and jazzy mood.

Moments was also Jukka´s band at that time. It performed few years, but Jukka started his Organ Fusion Band same time and Moments soon disbanded. This album is a great album to the organjazz friends, but not really recommended to someone who wants to get familiar to Jukka´s music.

 Valon Vuoksi by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1979
4.75 | 3 ratings

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Valon Vuoksi
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Mortte

5 stars A true, but really underrated masterpiece from Jukka! This second solo has a lot in common to first one, it´s also whole entity divided into smaller parts, there are no vocals, but it´s even more gone from the rock music towards classic music. There are no guitars and basses, drums are only in a one small part. The album is created mainly from Jukka in playing many different keyboards, other instruments as woodwinds, strings & percussions joining him occasionally. Still sound of the album is very organic, very far for example the synthetic world of Tomita. In album Jukka describes the changing of the seasons and nature in Finland very great way. In the insert of the album there are citations from the Bibble, but as in the first album, there are no strict connection in the music and those citations. The titles of the albums parts comes from the seasons and there are also subseasons like winter-spring and autumn- winter. In the beginning and in the end of album are titles outside the seasons, the first one is in english "Fulfilment of the sky" and the second last piece is "Eternity Continuity".

Album starts like a year starts, so it´s winter. Jukka decribes the brightness of winter in his keyboards, soon also the indian jewel and african bonetriangle creates sounds that reminds snow & ice. When the spring comes, comes into music also softer and warmer woodwinds. "To the honour of Summer" is the only piece with drums and it´s very excited, reminds the middle summer feasts in Finland. The Grand piano and Viola play the main theme of autumn and you can easily imagine grey sky and slight rain. In the end of the album the brightness of the winter come back with Jukka´s keyboards, woodwinds and strings so the circle is full. The cover is also as amazing as music, the changing of the seasons is described into circle. Cover is planned by Jukka and painted by Alpo Vanninen.

So sad this album has never released as CD. Main reason may be that it was released originally by Discophon, not Love Kustannus or Rockadillo as the most of the Jukka´s albums. Discophon is now part of the Warner Music Finland. When album has no commercial potential, big company seems not to have any interest to rerelease it. Svart records, will you read this review?

 Between Fire And Ice by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.05 | 2 ratings

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Between Fire And Ice
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Just a quick one for this legandary Finnish (ex-WIGWAM) musician, who has sadly gained only a small amount of reviews at the year's time. Between Fire and Ice is a groovy, blues-flavoured jazz album, and pretty free of more eclectically progressive and personal elements.

The key instrument is announced already in the low quality cover. Iloisesti Hammondilla! (Sorry, non-Finnish readers; that was a clichéd phrase which means "joyfully with Hammond"). Organ jazz as a subgenre of its own isn't among my favourites. I think Hammond as the lead instrument gets a bit boring on the long run. This 64-minute album includes three songs with English lyrics and five instrumentals. Those with vocals ('Walkin' & Talkin'', 'Between Fire and Ice' and 'I'm a Bluesman') are oriented to American blues/funk/soul. The latter two are slow-tempo blues songs, more enjoyable than the sociocritical first song, but they could be by any artist of that genre.

I find it hard to get excited by the album as it sounds quite similar all the time. The mood stays carefree and there's a jam-like spirit in the compositions. The quartet (Gutsi is accompanied by a rhythm section and woondwinds player Pentti Lahti) is competent, no doubt of that. The closing track is a bit closer to the colourful Fusion you hear in his best albums, but prog listeners are adviced to choose other albums. Most of all this is a good and safe offering of merry organ jazz, recommended to anyone who happens to like that. Three stars would be an accurate objective rating, but for a clearer contrast I give only two here.

 Root & Stalk & Flower Music by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.74 | 4 ratings

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Root & Stalk & Flower Music
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The botanical title is a little clumsy, but luckily this music is not something one might associate with the term "root music"! The latest album by the old fox JUKKA GUSTAVSON doesn't offer anything radically new, but it's always interesting to see how the various familiar ingredients are emphasized. For starters, all lyrics are in English this time, and - also unlike in the album I wrote about last week - the vocals are oriented to singing instead of speaking. These are surely good news especially for non- Finnish listeners.

The mood is mostly happy and relaxed. A good example is the long instrumental 'Message from the Coral Reef', or a shorter one 'In Rainy Weather'. This would be perfect music for a summer evening's outdoor concert. The track with the only Finnish title is a passionate, slow instrumental with delicious parts for flute and organ, and a very vibrating electric piano. Some of the vocal songs reveal a strong influence of Afro-American music (soul, funk, etc), but equally important is the European music tradition rooted in art music. Perhaps the album's greatest delight is 'Classical Stairs and Garden', 17 and ½ minutes of wonderful, effortlessly flowing instrumental Fusion, up there with the best of PEKKA POHJOLA or JUKKA TOLONEN.

In the very tender 'In the Long Wait of the Wedding' Jukka sings the brief lyrics in French! Beautiful arrangement featuring e.g. flute and strings. The groovy but rather peaceful song 'This Elegy Will Always Be' is a decication to a pet cat. It has nice electric piano, and presumably an ud solo by guitarist Pekka Nylund. I notice that I enjoy this album much more than in the first listening. The bluesiest things may not be so much up to my taste, but for once there's not a single irritating track around. This is an extremely solid album with 66 minutes of pure, breathing music that is never left in the shadow of more litarary approach.

 Kiiltomato, Kynttilänliekki, Kuu ja Aurinko by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.96 | 4 ratings

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Kiiltomato, Kynttilänliekki, Kuu ja Aurinko
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This is probably the most romantically oriented of ex-WIGWAM Jukka Gustavson's solo albums, the title meaning Glow-worm, Flame of the Candle, the Moon and the Sun ("romantic lights every one"). And as on several JG albums, there are beautiful nature photography in the leaflet. I'll take the track-by-track approach, using the English titles for your convenience, even though this time all vocals are in Finnish.

'Oh Moon-Beams, Skip About Softly' (a reference to a Procol Harum song title, see?) is a soft, dreamy instrumental in a melancholically slow tempo. Flute is the main instrument for the beautiful melody. 'Two Lonely Planets' is also a calm instrumental for the most part, introspective, almost New Agey mood-painting. The speech in the end turns the sad metaphor of human being as lonely planets into a happier one, concentrating on all the lovely things. Yes, that's pure JG philosophy - not very different from the likes of Jon Anderson or Mike Pinder. Vocal song 'Yearnie and Hope - Together Forever' continues in the relaxed, peaceful mood. Nice, but a bit mild and forgettable among JG compositions.

'Delicate' is a serene instrumental, again with flute in the centre. If you like also minor art music pieces by composers such as Delius, Satie, etc., you'll enjoy this tune. Then comes the first "BLAH, this sounds stupid" thought: 'Robust' could be listenable without the distorted mumble, though the music is clearly just backing-up, meaningless in itself. Every now and then Jukka delivers his literary ideas in not-so-succesful form, musically speaking. Instrumental 'Grey Motion on Wheels' is the most restless track that wanders between free jazz and groovy jazz. In the end it has a short telephone conversation, a bit out of place actually.

'Beautiful Things' is an average track with typical JG mannerism, ie. emphasis on text (spoken, not sung) and a jazz groove that tastes more like backing-up, but e.g. organ and bass sound good. 'Lovers in Science Fiction' has the speech part (blah, again!) in the beginning, but the instrumental part is rather schizophrenic; piano sounds as if a heavy cat was walking on keys. 10-minute instrumental 'Light Bright Sight' wanders at first quite aimlessly, in fact momentarily reminding of Claude Debussy's impressionism on solo piano. A good piece with the needed progression, as there's more solid jazz ensemble playing in the latter half.

'Do You Remember, My Love' returns to the soft, romantic mood with silky sounds. The vocals are again spoken, but not in an irritating way. The serene mood is continued by the final slow instrumental that has emphasis on piano and organ.

Like the following album Toinen Maisema (2006) which has more blues flavour and is less romantic, this album is slightly uneven. Especially for the romantic-minded listeners such as me it offers a lot to enjoy, but may be less succesful as a whole for those who want edgier and livelier Fusion. And now that I think of it, the vocals on this album are all too oriented towards speech instead of singing. Make it 3½ stars then...

 Toinen Maisema   (with Hottoe) by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 2006
4.00 | 2 ratings

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Toinen Maisema (with Hottoe)
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Ex-Wigwam keyboardist-vocalist-composer Jukka Gustavson has a large and many-sided solo discography. In this Millennium he has perhaps operated more in the jazz genre than in rock-rooted fusion, but this album features more rock attitude than many others. As on many other albums there is a wide spectre of styles, but always his own style is very recognizable. In this sense it reminds a lot of his excellent 1995 album Kadonnut Häviämättömiin. The two first tracks sung in English are very groovy, bluesy jazz-rock (or jazzy blues-rock) that makes your body move. Pekka Nylund's spicy electric guitar almost steals the show on 'Road Movie'.

'Helge' is a Finnish-language song with mellower and more keyboard-oriented sound. The lyrics seem to memorize a roadie in the prog era; Tasavallan Presidentti & Wigwam and their members are mentioned. Nice, symphatetic song, only slightly too repetitive in the chorus. 'Muinaismaisema' (An ancient landscape) is a peaceful, bright-sounding instrumental with an emphasis on acoustic guitar and synths. 'Juhlapuheissa ja kahvikutsuilla' (In jubilee speeches and coffee parties) is light, Canterburyish jazz rock, and instead of singing it features speeches, a party saboteur included; an amusing satire on political life.

'Pitkällä matkalla' (On a long journey) is romantic and mellow, lyrically a dedication to Jukka's wife, or the marriage itself. 'Suomen kulttuurin agentit' (The agents of Finnish culture) is rather annoying: musically light, jam-styled backing of ironic, sociocritical dialogues, actually really useless in the musical sense. The title track is a groovy fusion instrumental, an average composition in Jukka's scale. 'Grow Grain grow' starts in a dreamy tone in slow tempo, but with Steve Winwood -reminding vocals the 9-minute song gets quite bluesy. Again good guitar work and lots of groove. The closing instrumental (= People of the new dawn) is happy and uplifting, featuring the trumpet of Verneri Pohjola (yes, he is a son of Pekka Pohjola).

So, I find this album quite similar with Kadonnut Häviämättömiin (which I gave full rating). Maybe not as good though. One annoying non-musical throwaway track, more blues tones, some average compositions... Maybe still worth four stars.

 Kadonnut Häviämättömiin by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.82 | 5 ratings

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Kadonnut Häviämättömiin
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by yesstiles

5 stars There's a really great album hidden within this cd. Unfortunately there are a couple of duff tracks and a lack of cohesion in the running order as a result. But I've solved this problem! Simply edit and resequence the disc and you suddenly have a modern classic on your hands. Try sequencing it this way: Track 2, track 4, track 6, track 7, track 1, track 8. That makes a solid 46-minute album. It's fantastic this way. A mix of progressive rock, jazz-fusion, adventurous melodic vocal compositions, and esoteric instrumental moments. I adore this album with the revised track sequence. Cheers!
 Kadonnut Häviämättömiin by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1995
4.82 | 5 ratings

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Kadonnut Häviämättömiin
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

5 stars EXCELLENT JAZZ-ROCK/FUSION FROM FINLAND! This one's a giant leap from Bluesion. There's no shortage of good material - the album lasts over an hour, no weak tracks - , or feelings of things worked out only halfway. Actually the recordings took place in over a year's time, and there's a solid band beihind the music unlike on Bluesion album. Now I'm writing unusually track by track:

The opening instrumental is tight fusion, not very melodic, and with a bigger role for an electric guitar of Seppo Tyni. 2. (title translated "A Forest in the Middle of the Ocean") has long, improvisatory piano intro before a fusion composition reminding of Pekka Pohjola - Gustavson's former bandmate in WIGWAM. 'You My Brother' introduces vocals but it starts with some sound effects of a sea accident. (In the leaflet reads: "I wish to remark this record has not has not been made to remind or inspire visions of the accident in the Baltic". The Estonia disaster had occured back then.) The song is bluesy, the lyrics bitter.

The fourth track is my favourite: 'Rakkautta rakasta' ("Love the love") is happy, optimistic and uplifting. The lyrics are perhaps naively spiritual, but they are a perfect match to the gorgeous music. The melodies are fantastic. Also 'Tuomion humussa' ("In the Haze of doom") has vocals, but instead of singing it's hectically spoken words about everything going wrong, with hectic drumming; only towards the end there come other instruments such as marimba. Dark humour which works quite well as the track remains short enough. The instrumental sixth track is one of the musical highlights with excellent band play. The atmosphere is laid-back and Jukka's bright synths and piano take the lead. BRAND X comes to mind a bit.

'Kontrasteja' ("Contrasts") is the longest one (9:12) and the most progressive. Featuring the guest guitarist Pekka Rechardt (of Wigwam after Gustavson's departure) it sounds a bit like Scandinavian ECM jazz - e.g. Terje Rypdal - or Pekka Pohjola. There are nice vibraphones and the last few minutes approach minimalism of Philip Glass, I think. 'Alla tähden alakulon' ("Under melancholy star") starts with a groovy, laid-back intro and then evolves slowly into a sad, beautifully emotional song with very elegant playing. The instrumental outro is soft syths à la 'Alchemy of the Heart' by Tangerine Dream. The closing track ("In this crazy world") is the shortest one. First, sounds of a seashore, then very low-key spoken words soaking with pessimism but with a ray of light in the end: "...but suddenly everything changed: my father brought me a peeled apple".

This album only gets better with repeated listenings. It has wide palette and yet coherence, emotional depth and fine instrumentalism in a perfect balance. 4½ stars rounded up!

Thanks to evolver for the artist addition.

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