Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose
”The more things change, the more they stay the same”, states the famous proverb from 1849. Fearlessly searching and forever challenging himself, Verneri Pohjola is a true embodiment of this saying. The trumpeter and composer embraces new settings and situations as a hired gun yet also frequently seeks to shed his skin in the projects he leads or co-leads.
There are those who would like to pigeonhole Pohjola as some kind of a totem of New Nordic Jazz but like recent albums with The Verneri Pohjola Group and percussionist Mika Kallio prove, there is much more to him than just cool, contemplative and melodious lines against a stripped-down acoustic backdrop.
With The Dead Don’t Dream (no connection to the Hopalong Cassidy movie at all, Verneri tells FMQ), this industrious man seems to be making a ”story so far” -synopsis covering his recent years as a bandleader. Yes, with the exception of a guitarist, it is the same group Pohjola assembled to tackle his father’s beloved works on Pekka three years ago, but the palette is different. Mika Kallio’s drums and percussion lay the groundwork for Antti Lötjönen’s muscular, groovy and ubiquitous bass work while Tuomo Prättälä’s piano provides the harmonic framework. Old partners-in-crime one and all, yet now witnessed from a new viewpoint.
If this versatile collage of seven tunes really is some sort of a settlement of accounts, we should perhaps also recall another idiom: ”Progress is impossible without change.” George Bernard Shaw’s celebrated slogan applies to the 42-year old Verneri Pohjola to a tee. Like all trailblazers, he is in perpetual motion.
"The Dead Don't Dream" album launch concert takes place on Yle Areena website on 6 May at 7:25 pm EEST.
VERNERI POHJOLA: The Dead Don’t Dream
Verneri Pohjola: trumpet
Tuomo Prättälä: piano & electronics
Mika Kallio: drums and gongs
Antti Lötjönen: bass
Pauli Lyytinen: soprano saxophone & tenor saxophone (on ‘Wilder Brother’ and ‘Suspended’)
Miikka Paatelainen: pedal steel (on ‘Monograph’, ‘The Dead Don’t Dream’ and ‘Suspended’)
Edition Records EDN1153
The April Jazz 2020 festival goes virtual on 22-25 April at keikalla.fi! Verneri Pohjola & Mika Kallio will play a gig at G Livelab Helsinki on 22 April. Buy a ticket and watch the concert here.