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Everything Is It by Heikki Sarmanto Big Band

Finnish pianist/composer Heikki Sarmanto is a legendary figure within Scandinavian progressive-jazz circles. And this 1972 big band reissue also restates his hip-ness and forward-looking proclivities amid his productions for stage and cinema. Among many rewarding factors, "Everything Is It" has not lost any steam over the years, and is an adventurous undertaking that forges a progressive slant, but incorporates the snazzy, pop shaded big band arrangements of the era. With Taru Valjakka's lyric-less vocals acting as a lead instrument in spots, the program is sprinkled with brassy arrangements and a surfeit of keenly enacted dynamics. Essentially, Sarmanto bridges convention with non-conforming ideologies.

Audacious yet temperate, the band conveys great depth. On the high-velocity "Marat (Suite in four parts) Part IV," they overlay contrasting horns akin to a bold and swinging Stan Kenton arrangement via bristling solos by the hornists. Although vivid imagery comes to the forefront on "The Death," which commences as a hybrid jazz-waltz and dirge, projecting a sense of finality, and shaded with ominously stated horns. But they morph the piece into a power-packed motif, flowing with dips, blitzing spikes, and Eero Koivistoinen's soul-stirring soprano sax solo. The band rises from the ashes so to speak, and injects a sinewy yet resilient string of events that shifts the tide to an amalgamation of pleasantries. Otherwise, Sarmanto's piano work throughout the album firmly places him as the traffic cop and rhythmic protagonist. Indeed, a worthy reissue that shows no battered down residuals that sometimes occur via the sands of time.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Heikki Sarmanto Big Band
  • CD Title: Everything Is It
  • Genre: Big Band / Swing
  • Year Released: 2011
  • Reissue Original Release: 1972
  • Record Label: Porter Records
  • Rating: Five Stars
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