Trumpeter, composer and improviser Verneri Pohjola arrived on the Finnish jazz scene 12 years ago with a gang of three other eager contenders. Starting with March of the Alpha Males, the trailblazing Ilmiliekki Quartet gigged extensively and released two more discs before going into hibernation only broken quite recently.
In the meantime, Pohjola satisfied his muse with a string of collaborations like the collage-like debut solo Aurora (2009), wacky duet disc Michelin Star with drummer Joonas Riippa and the pompous Agatha where he got to play the Miles Davis in composer Kerkko Koskinen’s Gil Evans -influenced project, backed by the UMO Jazz Orchestra (both 2007).
With his wanderlust at least temporarily sated, Pohjola returned to quartet form and hard bop on Ancient History three years ago. And this foundation he continues building on with the piquant Bullhorn.
Tunes like the vivid Nanomachines and the expressive, yet atmospheric title track showcase Verneri as a potent jazz composer at the crossroads between tradition and innovation. The 37-year old son of legendary composer and jazzrock bassist Pekka Pohjola (1952–2008) has come up with his most intense, thoughtful and coherent release so far.