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Jukka Tolonen - Pop-Liisa 9 CD (album) cover


Jukka Tolonen


Jazz Rock/Fusion

4.00 | 2 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars Here's yet another item in the Finnish Pop Liisa / Jazz Liisa series (we're talking of live performances in Liisankatu studios, Helsinki, from the early or mid-70's, that at the time were only broadcast on the radio and have finally, in recent years, been released on vinyls and CD's).

Jukka Tolonen, the guitarist and leading figure of TASAVALLAN PRESIDENTTI and a succesful solo artist, appeared twice in the series of those gigs (if the Tasavallan Presidentti gig from 1973 is not counted), first in 1973 as Jukka Tolonen Ramblin' Jazz Band featuring e.g. trumpetist Mike Koskinen and the reeds player Pekka Pöyry, then in 1975 as Jukka Tolonen Band featuring Pöyry, keyboardist Esa Kotilainen, bassist Heikki Virtanen and drummer Esko Rosnell. These musicians represent the cream of the Finnish jazz rock / fusion scene of the 70's. The vinyl for this latter gig contains four tracks in roughly 37 minutes (whereas the preceding one has two compositions, 'A Warm Trip With Taija' and 'Ramblin''). All four compositions here are from Tolonen's fourth solo album Hysterica (1975). This restriction to one album may feel a bit narrow-minded for today's music consumer, but it's understandable that the limited length of the radio-broadcast gig was dedicated to the new release. [Let it be said that Hysterica isn't among my favourite Tolonen albums; especially I prefer The Hook (1974), which is one of my favourite Finnish fusion albums of all time.]

'Tiger' is a lively jazz-rocker with solos for various instruments following each other. Especially flute sounds great. 'Windermere Avenue' is a feelgood piece in mid-tempo, slightly simpler in structure. Only Tolonen throws a solo on this one. 'Hysterica' as a faster piece is for the most part about showing off the technical competence of the musicians, both in soloing and in excellent combo playing. But as a composition it feels a bit too self-indulgent and lacking the more emotional aspect, as does also 'Django', or the gig in general, despite all the superb soloing.

I wouldn't necessarily consider this release a must; it may feel a bit pointless if you already have Hysterica album. But if you're a dedicated instrumental jazz rock / fusion listener with a special interest for live recordings and excellent musicianship, it's undoubtedly worth the money. ------ Each CD release of Pop Liisa or Jazz Liisa series contains two separate items, in this case Hurmerinta--Sorvali Big Band's gig from 1977. BTW, that gig also features guitarist Sami Hurmerinta's wife Maarit on vocals. Maarit, a respected long-term artist in her own right, sings in Finnish on her own albums, whereas the English-language set in question features compositions by Jimi Hendrix and Frank Robson.

Matti | 4/5 |


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