Pushing the boundaries of his trio’s territory even further than before, pianist Aki Rissanen takes his latest cues from electronic music. Opening the new album with the percolating synth arpeggios of Aeropeans, he is actually in danger of scaring off listeners not used to surprises or not ready to survey the entire package before jumping into conclusions.
No fear, though. The Bill Evans -tinged sparse and lyrical, yet brainy piano playing is still there. Only in a more distilled and internalized form than previously. Ditto the timeless original pieces that reference composers like Igor Stravinsky or Erik Satie more than any jazz great. In fact, two of the nine tracks on the album come from Carlo Gesualdo and Einojuhani Rautavaara.
However, bold openings, world class piano playing and top shelf compositions aside, the real showstopper on Art in Motion is the intricate interplay and collective chemistry between Rissanen, bass player Antti Lötjönen and drummer Teppo Mäkynen. Their work together, started around 2012 and documented earlier on Amorandom (2016) and Another North (2017), is bearing fruit more beautiful than before.
Like all the best piano trios and chamber ensembles, this team has cultivated the common breath that makes their playing flow uncannily fluid and synchronized. This album freezes the threesome in a moment of time where the window of opportunity is already behind and they are eyeing new exciting vistas on the other side.
AKI RISSANEN: Art in Motion
Edition Records EDN1134
Online concert at UMO Helsinki mobile application, 18 to 25 February, 2021:
UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, feat. Aki Rissanen:
More information and links for downloading the UMO app here.