Saxophonist Jukka Perko and pianist Iiro Rantala are significant Finnish jazz musicians of their generation, to say the least. Both have also toured the globe extensively. Come to think of it, it’s rather peculiar that these two musicians didn’t join forces on record sooner.
Far less surprising is the theme of this album – tango, in a loose way. Both musicians have at times shown interest in the genre. And tango used to be very popular in Finland as dance music for everyday use, and may still be in the countryside, besides metal of different varieties.
Perko and Rantala use tango only as a point of departure. The songs, some of which are well known in Finland as tangos, are transformed and will evolve, moving in quite different directions. The repertoire, which includes “Jealousy” by Jacob Gade, “Stella by Starlight” and two versions of “Finlandia”, is executed masterfully. The musicians dig deep down into the grief of the Finnish soul, while still retaining some humour now and then.
However, I feel that this record is more of a fresh and exotic revelation for listeners not residing in Finland.
JUKKA PERKO & IIRO RANTALA DUO ART: It Takes Two to Tango