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Pekka Pohjola - Pekka Pohjola Group: Kätkävaaran Lohikäärme CD (album) cover


Pekka Pohjola


Jazz Rock/Fusion

3.84 | 57 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

3 stars Structured around Pekka Phjola's fluid bass melodies and arrangements this Finnish fusion jewel from one of modern music's unsung composers and arrangers breathes fire from the opening title track Katkavaaran lohikaarme ( The Dragon Of Katkavaara ), an extended showpeice that, like all the 4 tracks, was recorded straight with almost no overdubs which gives an intimate live group atmosphere. There is a lot here that will recall tyhe sounds of Larry Coryell's Eleventh House, John Abercrombie's Gateway albums as well as Focus' early seventies work with Jan Akkerman on guitar on this 1980 departure into a more compact group format territory of guitar, piano, bass & drums. Being familiar with Pohjala's earlier solo work as well as his collaoborations with Mike Oldfield and as bass player in Finnish progressive rock band Wigram I was pleasantly suprised when, on a whim, dug this out of the jazz section in a second hand shop in the early 80s when he was just becoming a bit more known on North American shores.

The first ( title ) track could have been cropped down a bit from it's 15 minute running time and can come off as a directionless jam at first but develops into a series of guitar freakouts interspersed by a groovy theme that gives it contrast and depth in between guitarist Seppo Tyni's electric outbursts. A traditional folky intro theme creates a lighthearted aura to the second track " tehdasmusliikia " and reveal the similarities between Tyni's and Akkerman's European electric guitar stylings and the main guitar melody sounds like it could have been lifted right out of an early 70s discarded Focus outake ( think " Tommy " from "Eruption " ), but Pojola's crafty arrangements save the day. Side two really rocks it out with " Sampololiini ", a fast jazzy track with a catchy bassline that cleverly morphs into a cool mellowed out bass solo that burns with passion that makes one wonder why it took Pohjola so long to be recognized out of his native Finland. The track is rounded off with a bright piano solo and a return to the theme. The last track " inke ja ma " has a spooky supernatural feel to it with it's minor keyed development that builds and builds to a intense conclusion. ( I wish I had the translations to this and the other 3 track titles. My LP copy is all in Finnish ).

This is perhaps one of the most interesting and fun Pekka Pohjola projects up to 1980. Prefering to work in larger group settings ( he had a full orchestra on 1979s Visitation ), The Dragon Of Katkavaara exposes a more laid back Pohjola and perhaps one of his last albums with a progressive rock appeal. Although not as adventurous as both previous and subsequent work Katkavaaran Lohikaarme is definitely an accessable starting point for those not familiar with this unsung Finnish maestro.

Vibrationbaby | 3/5 |


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