KARI IKONEN TRIO
Beauteous Tales and Offbeat Stories
Pianist Kari Ikonen fuses fresh elements. On this second outing with bassist Ara Yaralyan and drummer Markku Ounaskari, not only Scandinavian and American sounds are heard. As the title reveals, this record has two distinctive sides: beautiful composed pieces and spontaneous collective takes.
The former category includes a groovy adaptation of the Bollywood song “Poorab Disa Se”, the beautiful “Astri Pes”, composed by Armenian Gusan Ashot and arranged by compatriot Yaralyan, and Ikonen’s impressionistic “L’avant-midi d’une elfe”.
This trio stands on all six feet, meaning all three members actively and jointly sculpt the music. The role of virtuoso Yaralyan is particularly strong, and the trio has been referred to as being Finnish-Armenian. Moving between arco and pizzicato, the bass player contributes to a larger entity than the customary piano trio sound. Nor, however, do the percussive paintings of Ounaskari play a minute role. Without losing the groove, at times he also delivers melodic material. The detailed and bright piano playing of Ikonen reflects him as a composer, who won the Julius Hemphill Composition Award some 15 years ago.