Joakim Berghäll is a versatile saxophonist, composer and arranger who is just at home in a folk music ensemble as he is with a jazz ensemble (ie.Tsuumi Sound System, Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble, Berghäll Triality). In this dialogues series, Berghäll has collaborated with jazz guitarists and pianists, and now, in this latest collaboration, with musicians from all the corners of the world who have ended up in Finland. If we are to label this album as a whole, let’s decide to call it jazzy world music.
The project has been undertaken with patient ambition. Berghäll spent five years interviewing collaborators, learning about their musical cultures, and then composing pieces for them to perform together. The red thread holding the entire project together is Berghäll’s baritone sax, from which he manages to conjure a wide range of different sounds. The saxophone is just as at home conversing in a playful manner with a 7-stringed guitar (Fabio de Oliveira, Brazil), as it is wailing with a Turkish saz-lute (Irfan Özbek). Berghäll emphasizes spontaneity in this project: all of the pieces are barely practiced together beforehand, and they are recorded wherever the musicians happen to be. Still, the final entirety ends up being amazingly peaceful, full of understanding and musical equality. As a good dialogue should be.
Fans of Finnish folk music take notice! Berghäll is presently working on Dialogues III (never mind the chronology!), where he will collaborate with Finnish folk music giants.
JOAKIM BERGHÄLL: Dialogues IV
Joakim Berghäll: baritone saxophone, percussion, ocarina, electric bass
Menard Mponda: percussion
Nathan Riki Thompson: double bass, flutes
Irfan Özbek: saz
Fabio de Oliveira: 7-string guitar
Kishan Gaine: sarangi
Marouf Majidi: tanbour
Malang Cissokho: kora
Cesar Aguilar: 26-string Alcedo guitar
Boulder Music Helsinki BMHCD4, 2019