31 years have gone by since pianist, composer and conductor Olli Ahvenlahti’s (born 1949) previous jazz album. Bandstand and The Poet, issued in the mid-seventies, are today considered milestones in Finnish jazz-funk. The music was revived from oblivion in the 1990s when “Grandma’s Rocking Chair” from The Poet was featured on an acid jazz compilation. Last year both records were reissued by Svart Records.
In between Ahvenlahti has worked in TV and theatre, but also played gigs every now and then.
Thinking, Whistling is more of a mainstream record, especially compared to the earlier fusion albums. The setup is an acoustic quartet - Olli Ahvenlahti New Quartet - with Jussi Kannaste on tenor saxophone, Antti Lötjönen on bass, and Jaska Lukkarinen on drums. All three musicians are renowned members of the Finnish jazz scene, working in many settings.
Ahvenlahti’s compositions are mostly mellow and somewhat romantic, as is his playing. The touch has a pleasant singing quality.
The band plays with great energy and forward momentum. Nevertheless, also collective warm moments are found, as the Bill Evanesque “Late Night” or “A Piano Song”.
AHVENLAHTI: Thinking, Whistling
Olli Ahvenlahti, piano
Jussi Kannaste, tenor saxophone
Antti Lötjönen, bass
Jaska Lukkarinen, drums
Cover design: Eeva-Riitta Eerola, Marcel (2015), oil on canvas
We Jazz WJCD06
We Jazz 2017 artists in FMQ:
3 December Verneri Pohjola Group
4 December Olli Ahvenlahti New Quartet
4 December Elifantree 10 years
5 December Black Motor
5 December Jukka Perko Tritone
7 December Milo & Moses
9 December 3TM
See the full programme here.