Timo Alakotila is often described as one of the hardest-working people in music; an accurate description, since it is genuinely hard to grasp everything he is involved in, from playing traditional folk music to writing music for a symphony orchestra. Though he works hard, he has not lost the genuine joy of making music in a group.
This feeling comes across very well on the live CD Ikiliikkuja [Perpetuum mobile], recorded at G Livelab in Helsinki in 2017. Alakotila here gives a customised programme with three musical companions, all of them appealing and highly diverse: Panu Savolainen (vibraphone), Hannu Kella (accordion) and Elias Frigård (soprano saxophone). The instrumentation is carefully selected to produce an intriguing mix of sounds.
I immediately allow myself to throw all thoughts of genre out of the window and just enjoy the music. The communication between the musicians is the key here, and the music that comes out ends up somewhere between jazz, folk, classical and tango, with a few nods to very specific directions, such as the pure energetic joy of traditional polskas after Elias Tallari.
All the musicians are introduced with a composition of their own, while the rest was penned by Alakotila. His style is very eclectic yet original and recognisable. I especially admire his skill with form. As a musician, he excels at the grand piano but also plays a lot of electric piano, which here is a bit more pulsing and funky than I have usually heard from him.
TIMO ALAKOTILA: Ikiliikkuja
Timo Alakotila - piano, electric piano
Panu Savolainen - vibraphone
Elias Frigård - soprano saxophone
Hannu Kella - accordion
Åkerö Records ÅKERÖCD020, 2020