July 2001

Jazz: New moods, new sounds

A second Finnish jazz album has been published by the legendary Blue Note jazz label. The new recording is by vibraphonist Severi Pyysalo and multi-instrumentalist Antti Sarpila. According to the regional newspaper Turun Sanomat (13 July 2001), the CD has been described as a handshake between modernists and traditionalists, Pyysalo being known as a member of the former and Sarpila being known mainly as a swing clarinettist.

Turun Sanomat reports that the chief executive of the Blue Note label, Bruce Lundvall, has already described the new CD as "fascinating". The paper adds that Lundvall has become very interested in European jazz visions and especially the talent of Finnish musicians. The new CD — which is called New Moods - New Sounds — follows in the footsteps of the tango/jazz CD Music of Olavi Virta by Jukka Perko & Hurmio-orkesteri.

Pyysalo and Sarpila's band has so far given one live concert but a major tour is planned for next year. According to Pyysalo, organising the gigs is complicated by the fact that in addition to a jazz quintet, the band includes a string quartet.

In the interview with Turun Sanomat, Pyysalo says that in its internationalisation, Finnish jazz is still young. Having confidence in one's own talent seems to require that some foreign institution shows trust in Finnish music and talent.

"In the past, the vibraphonist was praised by Sarah Vaughan. Alto saxophonist Jukka Perko made it in the Dizzy Gillespie Big Band. Only now have Finnish audiences shown real enthusiasm for the accomplishments of their own jazz musicians", Turun Sanomat comments.

Pyysalo is currently composing a concerto for vibraphone. He has also started to think seriously about the problem of absolute music, in other words, how to find parameters and premises with the help of which one could define music or playing as absolutely good, not only good in the view of the performer or composer.

See also:

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