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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, James Poore, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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Edition Records EDN1056



  1. Another Day

  2. Girls Of Costa Rica

  3. He Sleeps, I Keep Watch

  4. Bullhorn

  5. In La Borie

  6. This One Is For You

  7. Nanomachines

  8. Ouroboros

  9. Cold Blooded

  10. The End Is Nigh

Verneri Pohjola - Trumpet

Aki Rissanen - Piano

Antti Lötjönen - Bass

Teppo Mäkynen - Drums

Jussi Kannaste - Tenor sax

Ilmari Pohjola - Trombone

Iida-Vilhelmiina Laine - Cello

It's almost a couple of years now since I first heard a live performance by Verneri Pohjola, the immensely gifted trumpeter from Finland. The highlight for me was the heartbreakingly poignant treatment he gave to the Tom Waits ballad Take It With Me. It confirmed the feeling that here was an exceptional talent. Pohjola draws attention in the liner notes of this, his latest album, to the fact that, while he is often referred to as 'young' , he has had that adjective used of him for nigh on twenty years and isn't all that far off the age of 40 (he was born in 1977). So here we have the fruits of a mature musician. Born into a musical family, his father and brother both being musicians (brother Ilmari can be heard on this disc), and Verneri himself having graduated from the Jazz Conservatory in Helsinki, he has absorbed much of the tradition of jazz trumpet. There are echoes of Tomasz Stanko and Kenny Wheeler, as well, inevitably, as Miles Davis (try This One Is For You, for instance).

His fellow musicians on the album knit well together, something which is obvious from the first track, Another Day. Bullhorn also illustrates this sensitivity to each other's playing. Pohjola can ring the changes to great effect. He is capable of producing a gentle, almost whispering style at one moment and at another he can offer pyrotechnics in the higher register. All the pieces here are composed by him – I liked the melodies of Girls Of Costa Rica, He Sleeps, I Keep Watch and In La Borie, in particular. Lötjönen's expressive bass comes to the fore on Ouroboros and Aki Rissanen's sure touch on piano is pretty well evident throughout (though try Cold Blooded especially as a sample). Teppo Mäkynen on drums shows a true appreciation of tempo and mood and anchors the proceedings well. Of the guest musicians, tenor sax Jussi Kannaste deserves mention for his intriguing contribution to Girls Of Costa Rica and Nanomachines (the latter a rare up-tempo number). I must also mention the final track. The End Is Nigh proves to be a fitting conclusion to a fine CD. After a slowish start, the theme broadens into a fuller orchestral sound with Rissanen's piano offering a typically winsome solo and Pohjola playing his socks off, in the process demonstrating again how versatile he is. One to savour.

James Poore

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