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Leivonen Lumimyrskyssa - Celebrating the Music of Toivo Karki by Mika Pohjola

Spanning the last several years Finnish modern jazz pianist/composer Mike Pohjola has been applying his multifarious crafts while residing in New York City. On this rather enchanting effort, the pianist investigates the music of Finnish composer Toivo Karki (1915-1992).

With a large ensemble and three vocalists, Pohjola arranged a portion of Karki’s work for a program highlighting the late composer’s intricately devised harmonic structures. Karki was enamored with jazz music upon listening to Louis Armstrong back in 1928. But as Pohjola intimates in the liners, Karki served as a music populist in his native Finland while never abandoning his love for jazz music. With these pieces, we find folk, cabaret, and swing morphed into a contemporary sound embedded within Karki’s melodramatically inclined storylines.

Two female vocalists (Sanni Orasmaa and Eeppi Ursin) sing in their native tongues, other than the latter’s English verse on the swinging 50s jazz/pop like composition titled, "Counting the Cost." But for those who are not privy to the Finnish language, their angelic and often-sultry vocals instill a lighthearted spirit, abetted by Pohjola’s intertwining arrangements. Marked by bustling rhythms, layered horns/strings and a few jazzy solos, the music is elevated by the artists’ buoyant spirit and dissemination of charm to complement a few brisk, swing vamps. This album also features male vocalist Henrik Lamberg’s drama-filled, spoken word musings and tenor vocals. Therefore, it’s a divergent extravaganza that occasionally takes on the sound and feel of a theatrical film-score. Quite compelling....

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Mika Pohjola
  • CD Title: Leivonen Lumimyrskyssa - Celebrating the Music of Toivo Karki
  • Genre: Other
  • Year Released: 2005
  • Record Label: Independent
  • Rating: Three Stars
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