in Reviews

Reconstructing the classics

by Jan-Erik Holmberg

There are perhaps more excellent trumpeters today than ever in Finland. Kalevi Louhivuori certainly belongs to this bunch.

The idea behind his quintet record Almost American Standards is to use compositions by American jazz musicians as loose foundations for new material. However, the old works are reworked in such a fashion that the songs acting as models are not always obvious, even if the titles sometimes give strong hints. Titles like Take 4, Yes And Now or 6 Steps To Heaven will not keep the jazz buff wondering too long.

Stylistically the music moves logically from ’50s hardbop to modal jazz and occasionally beyond. The playing is very enjoyable, with heartfelt solos from pianist Mikael Myrskog and others. Drummer Jaska Lukkarinen and Louhivuori are well-known names in Finland, while Myrskog, reedsman Ville Vannemaa and bassist Eero Seppä represent a somewhat junior force. The Ellingtonesque ballad Alone Again, with Vannemaa on clarinet, is a real heartbreaker which could work well in a Woody Allen movie.

Kalevi Louhivuori Quintet Almost American Standards Cover
KALEVI LOUHIVUORI QUINTET – Almost American Standards

Cam Jazz CAMJ 7900-2