FIFTH AVENUE: Tales
Groovy Records GRCD1501
Fifth Avenue’s debut album, Tales, which features five of the finest up-and-coming Finnish jazz musicians, will only serve to reinforce Finland’s jazz pedigree. “Push”, the album’s opening number, quickly establishes that this quintet is a tight, coherent unit. The rhythm section of Teemu Åkerblom (bass) and Mikko Arlin (drums) provides a driving but never overwhelming groove over which Tuomas J. Turunen (piano), Olli Hirvonen (guitar) and Ville Vannemaa (sax) deliver a series of brightly melodic performances which set the overall tone of the album.
Tunes including “The Place of a Grand”, “Hey There and Arbeit” are suffused with a joyous atmosphere, at times recalling the feel of some of Pat Metheny’s early-’80s output. Halfway through the album, “Lost For Good” opts for a slightly more subdued tone, perhaps the only song on the album to flirt with the atmospherics stereotypically associated with Nordic jazz. Finally, the ninth track and album-closer “Little Mushroom” is a playful number with an irresistible refrain set down by Vannemaa’s sax which, in combination with the swinging groove of Åkerblom and Arlin, makes the tune a fitting conclusion to this outstanding debut album.