in Reviews

A perfect balance between restraint and abandon

by Pierre Ringwald

Fredriksson Music FRMCD016

Joonas Haavisto’s latest album Oku is an outstanding trio recording.  From the opening track One For Jean, Haavisto’s compositions reveal a confident musical vision – there are no desperate-to-impress wild flourishes, idiosyncratic rhythmic departures or endless cascades of notes. Instead, from one tune to the next, Haavisto (accompanied by the always excellent Antti Lötjönen on bass and Joonas Riippa on drums) achieves a perfect balance between restraint and abandon.

From the gliding, melancholic lines of Frozen to the sharp rhythms of Xibalba (complemented by some taut, snappy drum work from Riippa), Haavisto’s compositions neither underwhelm nor overpower the listener. This is perhaps most evident on Singularity, his first recorded solo composition, which achieves an almost contemplative quality at times and yet does so without resorting to a sterile sparseness. Equally impressive is Band Wagon – a tune that Riippa and Lötjönen build up into a rolling groove over which Haavisto delivers a joyous solo.

In a world that seems overpopulated by piano trios, Haavisto’s trio has achieved a distinct voice on this recording.

Joonas Haavisto Trio is touring in Japan in May 2018:

16 May Tochigi Prefecture Cultural Center, Tochigi
18 May Toyonaka Performing Arts Center, Osaka
19 May Joyo City Cultural Center, Kyoto
20 May Izumi Arts Centre Theatre Fonte, Kanagawa
21 May Panthenon Tama, Tokyo