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


Pekka Pohjola

Jazz Rock/Fusion

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4 stars The last album in the range of the classic sounding, extermely inventive albums of Pekka Pohjola, one of the greatest bass-players ever, with long tunes featured with musical humour and extravaganza which only Pekka can do in a Sibelian way.....on the album are many great moments, the compositions are a cocktail of clever and skilled fusion-progrock with symphonic undertones. Musicians and the careful listener know what the true joy of making music is about, when you have the ability to discover new territories. Check out also all his first four other albums from the 70's which all are minor masterpieces.

After thisalbum, the music of Pekka Pohjola did not have the genuine Finnish spirit present as a result of the decline of the progressive era, albums from the 80's onwards are more fusion oriented.Anyway Pekka is one of my alltime favourites, and all his albums are recommended!

Report this review (#26044)
Posted Thursday, February 3, 2005 | Review Permalink
4 stars Part of the fun of listening to Pekka Pohjola is the "What's he going to do next?" factor. And after the grand, orchestrated epic that was VISITATION, he did an abrupt, 180° turn with its follow up.

Here we're presented with Pohjola at his most stripped-down. Bass, piano, guitar, drums and that's it! I think part of the impetus for this album was how well-received Seppo Tyni was on VISITATION. I imagine Pohjola wanted to specifically make an album that featured him. Definitely a wise decision; each of the tracks feature an infectious, intricate bassline from Pohjola and some tasty solos from Seppo. Pekka Tyni on pianos and Ippe Kätkä on drums round out the quartet.

As close as Pohjola has ever come to straight-on fusion, this is nonetheless undeniably everything one would expect from a Pekka Pohjola album. The melodies, chord progressions and, most of all, the bass parts are all unmistakably Pohjola. "Inke ja mä" is one of his finest compositions of all time, a real jewel in his crown.

So, would I recommend starting here? If you're coming from a jazz or jazz-fusion perspective, probably. Otherwise, probably not, as it's a rather atypical PP release. Which is not to say it's bad-quite the contrary, it's EXCELLENT!-but it's Pohjola trying something a little different. And, much to our delight, succeeding.

Report this review (#49611)
Posted Friday, September 30, 2005 | Review Permalink
5 stars Let's get it straight, Pekka Pohjola is a master of composition; both from a progressive rock viewpoint, and the fusion perspective. And the album Katkavaaran Lohikaarme is a perfect blending of progressive elements, and the creative/compositional side of fusion.

I am not a huge fan (use to be) of fusion, as most of it is either - too tasty - or not tasty at all - playing from muso's that have great chops, but lack that true musicality/compostion/need to exist/ kind of music. NOT THIS ALBUM - or any from Pekka actually. The group Bruford's compositions are also in the perfect blending of progressive rock/jazz/fusion. This is of course all MHO. But Pekka's style of layering, moving themes, improvisation is just at it's peak here, but in a stripped down Pekka. No big group, or arrangements. Just a great band playing that Pekka style. The solo's are tasty and essential, and the bass playing is some of Pekka's best, both soloing and laying down the foundation.

I wonder if the (wonderful) group Wigwam ever thought such wonders would come from their bass player?!!!

Fab stuff that legends are made of - Thanks Pekka Pohjola for giving so much, and thanks to all for listening to new and classic progressive rock.

Report this review (#185774)
Posted Tuesday, October 14, 2008 | Review Permalink
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.

Report this review (#701163)
Posted Friday, March 30, 2012 | Review Permalink
3 stars If I'm not mistaken this is the only PEKKA POHJOLA album to feature the word "Group" after his name. This time the line-up /instrumentation is as elemental and unvaried as it gets with Pohjola: the composer playing bass only, accompanied by Seppo Tyni (guitars), Pekka Tyni (keyboads) and the drummer Ippe Kätkä. The 44-minute album consists of only four tracks between 7'34 and 14'33 in length.

The opening title track ('lohikäärme' means dragon) is the longest of them. It sounds very good, especially for the calmer, rhytmically clear basic part with distinctive drum sounds. Time and time again it evolves into more hectic "chorus" part in which the electric guitar screams like a frightened person, to return back. It also contains a long guitar solo, but frankly the composition is seriously over-extended for its musical substance.

'Tehdasmusiikkia' (= Factory music) is a Fusion number centering on a playful guitar melody that appears in turns with the more soaring melodic lines. The unmistakable Pohjola touch is heard in the little details but this is far from the finest music he made. I'm not fond of 'Sampoliini' either, a fast joyful number that seems to be primarily a place to show off the musicians' virtuosity.

'Inke ja mä' (= Inke and me; referring to Pekka's divorced wife) is the highlight, and in my opinion among the best Pohjola pieces ever. Unlike this album in general, it is full of emotion, and that emotion is pretty melancholic, thoughtful and introspective. The way the repetitive "chorus" melody grows and grows -- orher movements being mostly very delicate -- is truly marvelous. This track is a perfect example of Pekka Pohjola's unique style. Since the album as a whole is not that interesting to me, three stars will do.

Report this review (#1506944)
Posted Tuesday, January 5, 2016 | Review Permalink

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