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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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Yksin Yhdessa Jaloa Ylpeytta YletanYksin Yhdessa Jaloa Ylpeytta Yletan
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Imports 2008
Audio CD$432.78
$288.52 (used)
BluesionBluesion
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Phantom Sound & Vision 2008
Audio CD$15.00
$14.99 (used)
Kadonnut HaviamattomiinKadonnut Haviamattomiin
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Audio CD$18.99 (used)
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JUKKA GUSTAVSON discography


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

3.00 | 3 ratings
... Jaloa Ylpeyttä Yletän... Ylevää Nöyryyttä Nousen
1978
0.00 | 0 ratings
Valon Vuoksi
1979
4.00 | 1 ratings
Toden Toistoa
1981
3.00 | 1 ratings
Bluesion - Sinijuurta etsimässä klisee-viidakon vilinässä
1992
5.00 | 3 ratings
Kadonnut Häviämättömiin
1995
0.00 | 0 ratings
Moments
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Between Fire And Ice
2003
0.00 | 0 ratings
Kiiltomato, Kynttilänliekki, Kuu Ja Aurinko
2005
0.00 | 0 ratings
Toinen Maisema (with Hottoe)
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Community Jazz
2009
0.00 | 0 ratings
Root & Stalk & Flower Music
2012

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JUKKA GUSTAVSON Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kadonnut Häviämättömiin by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1995
5.00 | 3 ratings

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Kadonnut Häviämättömiin
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

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!

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 ... Jaloa Ylpeyttä Yletän... Ylevää Nöyryyttä Nousen by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1978
3.00 | 3 ratings

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... Jaloa Ylpeyttä Yletän... Ylevää Nöyryyttä Nousen
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Neo Prog Team

3 stars An accomplished keyboardist,Finnish Jukka Gustavson was born in 1951 in Sipoo and was a founding member of Progressive/Jazz-Rock band Wigwam,with whom he recorded four studio and a live album from 1969 to 1974.By mid-70's Gustavson decided to leave the band and start a personal career.His solo debut with the long title ''...jaloa ylpeytt' ylet'n... ylev'' n'yryytt' nousen'' was quite ambitious with Gustavson collaborating with an orchestra and no less than 23 musicians,among them some famous names of the Finnish jazz and rock scene like Juhani Aaltonen and Juha Bj'rninen.This was released in 1978 on Love Records.

This is a modern Neo-Classical/Jazz symphony,split into 13 parts,creating a solid long piece with no actual empty holes.It starts off as a dissonant Classical piece with Gustavson's organ on the front,before transforming into a Symphonic/Jazz Rock opus with great work on flutes,horns and saxes,excellent guitar parts and Gustavson's jazzy piano performance.By the middle the album has already offered tons of light and accurate interplays,when Gustavson decides to make an almost KING CRIMSON-esque complex explosion.Unfortunately this great piece will lose much of what it really deserves,when entering the last part and the musicianship gets very funky and somewhat out of place.Soon though Juha Bjorninen will appear with an almost FOCUS jazzy soloing of high quality,Gustavson starts to dominate again with strong organ work and the wind section is back on fire for the nice ending,which features plenty of great breaks.

This modern symphony is actually a very good introduction to any fan of music to the progressive rock ideology.Additionally it comes as a great example of Jukka Gustavson's endless talent and strong composing skills,despite the few misplaced minutes.Warmly recommended...3.5 stars.

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 Bluesion - Sinijuurta etsimässä klisee-viidakon vilinässä by GUSTAVSON, JUKKA album cover Studio Album, 1992
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Bluesion - Sinijuurta etsimässä klisee-viidakon vilinässä
Jukka Gustavson Jazz Rock/Fusion

Review by Matti
Collaborator Neo-Prog Team

— First review of this album —
3 stars This was my first solo album by the ex-member of WIGWAM, about twelve years ago. I used to enjoy it a lot, but later I began to see its faults more clearly. After listening to several other albums I believe this is one of the weakest. It's surely interesting and very personal, but it feels somehow half baked to me. First of all, Gustavson should have used more musicians.

Many tracks feature just his piano and/or synths and some vocals: 'Tervetuloa-rag' (Welcome Rag) is a lively jazz piece for solo piano with his wife Leena repeating "tervetuloa" in the beginning. 'Song of the Secret Person of the Heart' is Jukka and keyboards only. The playful song itself is charming at first, but it continues too long without much change, so it begins to bore after repeated listenings. 'Varo - ihminen!' (Beware - human!) continues - far too long - in the same vein. It doesn't help that he changes into English midway. The closing track 'Everyday' adds nothing new really. All these compositions have a feeling of rehearsal (don't get me wrong: the playing is very skilful and also the sound quality is clean) and they would have improved a lot with fuller arrangements.

Completely English-language 'A Frozen Tear' is a hazy, slow track featuring also Pekka Nylund on electric guitar and Tom Nekljudow on drums. At once you hear the difference: it's free of the rehearsal impression of the forementioned tracks even if it has a sort of a wandering/wondering spirit.

'In Search of a Blue Root in the Acid Rain and the Low of a Cliché Thicket' is the oddity here. It's a collache of endlessly repeated and overlapping spoken (or loudly whispered) words such as a thicket and a quagmire and strange sound effects evoking the impression depicted in the long title. 'Palokärjen lento yli vuonon' (Woodpecker's flight over a fjord) is a romantic lied for high soprano voice, very sentimental and a bit over the top actually. Later it adds a spoken narrative in Italian by Giuseppina Mäkelä and some sound effects, ie. flapping of the wings and the bird's scream.

Bluesion is very interesting and charming work in its own way, but for the negative sides (too sparse instrumentation etc) it falls below three full stars.

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