in Articles

This should be good: Jazz nominees for the Emma prize

by Kare Eskola

Jazz has a way of pushing the envelope among the categories at the Emma Gala. Some nominees uphold the Scandinavian Jazz brand, while others take a reforming approach.

Linda Fredriksson: Juniper

An original and melodic solo début by a powerful sax player, acclaimed and poetically praised by critics with rare unanimity.

“Linda Fredriksson’s first solo album is an appealing work that avoids easy pigeon-holing, and as such one of the best Finnish jazz albums in years. Rarely does one find such a rich tapestry of textures combined with such a rich melodic universe.”
- Soundi

Kari Ikonen: Impressions, Improvisations & Compositions

When a composer/pianist adept at multiple styles sits down at the piano alone, the result is still diversity itself. The sounds and intonations of a prepared piano span unique distances.

“Kari Ikonen alternately figure skates, tap dances and prances across the keys, sounding like a jaunty, syncopated one-man band. The result is a showcase of the range of sounds that can be produced by a piano, and of the range of Ikonen’s keyboard artistry.”

Elifantree: Hachi

A global tour by eight drummers challenged Elifantree to create some of the sonorously most inventive Finnish jazz in a long time.

“There seems to be no bounds to the sheer imagination poured into the sound worlds and effects inhabiting this album. The multi-instrumental skills and electronic experiments of Anni Elif and Pauli Lyytinen colour each track. Every one of the eight drummers makes an important contribution culturally and musically, but the album is a coherent entity.”

Tomi Nikku 5tet: Light & Shade

These household names on the Finnish jazz scene are accustomed to making music together, which is evident in the relaxed precision on this album.

“Tomi Nikku manages to blend the sonorities of post-modern jazz with neo-romantic harmony and counterpoint. The result is a mixture that is able to stand sonically on its own.”

Artturi Rönkä & Daniel Sommer: Varo

This surprise nominee is an album full of brief, sketch-like tracks propelled aloft by uncontrived, subtle improvisation.

Translation: Jaakko Mäntyjärvi
Featured photo: Elifantree by Janne Räikkönen