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Jartse Tuominen - Northern Lights CD (album) cover


Jartse Tuominen


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 4 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars I was told about this Finnish musician some weeks ago and borrowed two albums. Nice to see him added here, even though I'm quite surprised by the excellent reception. Tuominen lives in the USA which probably explains to some degree that he's not very well known here in his home country (as far as I know). Even the albums were placed in the library's storage. My first thought of the music was that this hasn't much to do with prog. Also the jazz/fusion approach is rather lame, especially speaking of the compositions. Lucas's words of AOR / melodic rock hit the nail. This album is roughly half instrumentals, half songs with vocalists. At the same library trip I borrowed a CD of respected guitarist Seppo Tyni (Juhlat Suulissa, 1995) and I feel Tuominen's jazz-rock is more or less in the same musical map, only with more vocals and much more predictable structures. The AOR feeling would lead my guesses towards late 80's or 90's if I heard this in a blindfold test.

The opening instrumental is a biting sharp track concentrating on Jartse's electric guitar. Then comes a calm song 'Ghost of Love' with Annika Wiklund's nice, slightly raspy voice. Timo Rainio, singing on two tracks, sounds like he's from a melodic hard rock band (he might be, I don't know). 'On the Other Side' reminds me of some hard rock ballads of bands like Scorpions or Whitesnake. Hannu Leiden sings on three tracks, one of them being a duet with Wiklund. His voice is also attempting to sound "rock". 'Inca Princess' is another semi-ballad with an acoustic-oriented sound. 'The Loner' is an instrumental blues ballad written by Gary Moore. The duet 'Hearts on Parole' is melodic AOR with some Toto-like edginess in the guitar. The brief keyboard solo sounds a bit muddy, but I sort of enjoy the catchiness of that song.

It's obvious that the technical excellence of Jartse's guitar is in a central role on the album. That said, maybe there are too many vocal songs, all of them not very good. Ila Loueranta (better known as a multi- instrumentalist in the band of the late Juice Leskinen) sings on 'Never Enough', one of the tracks I rather skip. The final track 'Northern Lights' is a moody, melancholic instrumental. Concerning the producton and playing this is a good album, easily entertaining at least, but as for the music itself, I find it hard to believe it would be a great find to very many prog listeners.

Matti | 3/5 |


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