in Reviews

Postcard from Berlin

by Wif Stenger

"A tasting menu of contemporary Finnish jazz recorded at Berlin’s Monarch Bar."

A tasting menu of contemporary Finnish jazz: three trios pristinely recorded before an appreciative crowd at Berlin’s Monarch Bar; two tunes each, mostly previously unreleased.

Helsinki’s Bowman Trio has a seemingly light, loose touch that belies a bold exploratory spirit, as on trumpeter Tomi Nikku’s The Hillary Step, a tribute to mountaineer Edmund Hillary that ascends to dizzy heights, and the airy, edgy Just a Scratch.

Jaska Lukkarinen Trio starts on a breezy note with saxophonist Jussi Kannaste’s romping Roger, jauntily underpinned by Swedish bassist Mattias Welin. The group darkens to a nocturnal mood in Helsinki’s Kallio neighbourhood with Pengerkadulla, a stripped-down, stronger rework of a 2013 track by Dalindèo, in which Lukkarinen also plays drums.

Tampere band Black Motor is the wild card in the pack. On bassist Ville Rauhala’s Lähempänä taivasta (“Closer to Heaven”), flautist Tane Kannisto leads into a mystical Asian journey worthy of Yusef Lateef or Alice Coltrane – with a passing Berlin ambulance adding an eerie element. Even wilder is a reimagining of the title track from the group’s 2017 album Branches, featuring Kannisto on the South Asian shehnai and nagaswaram: an otherworldly sound which may push some listeners out of their comfort zone – into a new vista of stark, spiritual beauty.


We Jazz Live Plates Vol.1

Bowman Trio:
Tomi Nikku (trumpet)
Joonas Tuuri (double bass)
Sami Nummela (drums) 
Jaska Lukkarinen Trio:
Jaska Lukkarinen (drums)
Jussi Kannaste (tenor saxophone)
Mattias Welin (bass) 
Black Motor:
Tane Kannisto (flute, shehnai, nagaswaram)
Ville Rauhala (double bass)
Simo Laihonen (drums)

We Jazz Records WJLP09 / WJCD09