Since debuting in 2006 with Onion, this is pianist Riitta Paakki’s fourth album. It’s quite uncommon for Finnish jazz musicians to play music by someone else. Paakki surprises by serving up a whole vinyl album with compositions by Wayne Shorter. But where Paakki is concerned, it’s less surprising; Shorter is also the subject of her doctoral studies in jazz music at the Sibelius Academy.
The seven compositions by Shorter (“Speak No Evil”, “Pinocchio”, “Infant Eyes” etc.) are arranged in ways that send them some notches either into the past or into the future. Still the music is performed in a quite traditional and swinging manner. Myiako sounds as if the Bill Evans Trio could have performed it, while there are ’50s echoes of Ahmad Jamal in “Infant Eyes”.
Antti Lötjönen, Pori Jazz Musician of the Year, plays double bass and Jaska Lukkarinen is on drums, both doing excellent work. The album is issued on vinyl only, but the pressing is subpar – at least my copy sounds a bit like music by the fireplace. Crackle, crackle. Still, the music is good. Paakki is a solid pianist and Shorter, of course, is a genius in his field.
RIITTA PAAKKI: Characters