Fredriksson Music FRMCD009
The members of the AR Quartet are young. Artturi Rönkä (piano), Sampo Kasurinen (saxophones), Eero Seppä (bass), and Jonatan Sarikoski (drums) are all twenty-something. Still, the touch is mature to a degree that makes their self-titled album one of the strongest jazz debuts from Finland in many years.
In particular, the compositions (all by Rönkä) illustrate an unusual precocity. That is not to say that the quartet’s performances are in any way below par. But still, it is easier to find great performers than good composers among Finnish jazz musicians. It’s evident that Rönkä has far higher-reaching objectives than merely constructing blowing vehicles. The general feeling on the album is a calm one, almost chamber-like. But the compositions are multifaceted.
Besides jazz piano, Rönkä studied classical composition, both at the Sibelius Academy and at the Paris Conservatoire. That has not hurt him in any way, it has to be said. The band has played together for some years and came second a couple of times in the Jazz Hoeilaart International Contest. A good balance between thematic material and improvisation is prevalent. When soloing, the musicians truly add value to the compositions, not just a load of notes.
Listen to AR Quartet: http://artturironka.fi/music/