in Reviews

Less is more, QED

by Petri Silas

"Excellent job, one and all."

Sometimes a little goes a long way and a tiny impetus makes a world of difference. This was the case when woodwind master Juhani Aaltonen contemplated the possible pitfalls of improvising in duo form with guitar ace Raoul Björkenheim at the Tampere Jazz Happening in 2016.

The musicians come from succeeding generations, share quite a similar outlook on music and have collaborated with exulting results in the past. However, this time ”Junnu” wanted to steer the proceedings in a certain direction. As the elder in this ad hoc band, he reserved the right to make a small but important adjustment which in turn made the occasion special: Aaltonen announced that at this show he would not play any of his saxophones, only the flute.

The decision naturally affected Björkenheim’s approach and Aaltonen, the wise veteran, achieved exactly what he had strived for. The feel, mood and volume of the concert stayed within certain parameters making the intensity snowball into something quite unexpected. Like album opener Kaleidophonic and the beauteous Path with Heart showcase, this convergence of two adepts was something totally unforgettable. 

Another small but crucial judgment call of the evening was made by sound engineer Heikki Iso-Ahola. With no pomp and circumstance, he made a high-quality recording of the set and thus ensured that those of you not present that magic night may experience and enjoy this one-of-a-kind music as well. Excellent job, one and all.

Juhani Aaltonen, flute
Raoul Björkenheim, guitars, viola da gimbri

Eclipse Music ECD-201862 2018