Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Jupu Group - 1975 - Ahmoo

Jupu Group

01. The Seeker (5:11)
02. Ennystymätön (6:47)
03. Ahmoo (9:56)
04. Moment (8:01)
05. Two for Eeva (8:03)
06. Drops of Rain (7:13)

- Juhani Poutanen / violin, percussion
- Janne Louhivuori / guitars
- Jukka Linkola / keyboards, percussion
- Ilkka Hanski / bass
- Urpo Sorvali / drums, percussion

JUPU GROUP was a somewhat typical finnish prog band, as most bands in Finland (in the 70's) played some form of jazz-rock/fusion. The band was based around the violinist Juhani "Jupu" Poutanen (hence the name Jupu Group). The music in their only album "Ahmoo" is much in the vein of WEATHER REPORT and RETURN TO FOREVER, but no plagiarism here, and the group managed to have a sound of their own for the most part.

By the time "Ahmoo" was released, the band had already disbanded as Juhani had moved to Rovaniemi to continue his studies. It's worth a spin, if you like the bands mentioned earlier, but finding "Ahmoo" might be a difficult task, as I believe it was never released on cd.

The first two tracks are much funkier than I expected, giving the lead role to Janne Louhivuori's electric guitar. 'The Seeker' is written by drummer Upi Sorvali and 'Ennystymätön' - another nonsense word! - , with its groove reminiscent of Stevie Wonder's 'Superstition', by violinist Juhani Poutanen. The 10- minute title track is quite different: a serene and a bit aimlessly wandering arty-farty focusing on piano and percussion. The A side is a disappointment for me as I expected airy & melodic fusion in the style of Jean Luc Ponty (foir the presence of violin). Technically this group is excellent, however.

'Moment' (by Poutanen) finally features the awesome violin virtuosity. Especially this 8-minute highlight track is on the level of the American fusion of the time (Weather Report, Return To Forever...).The bassist Ilkka Hanski has composed 'Two for Eeva', which starts rather boringly with the bass taking the solistic role. Usually bass solos in jazz always bore me, by the way. Little by little the track grows to be more interesting, including various phases. I like the lively piano in it. The closing track 'Drops of Rain' (by keyboard player Jukka Linkola) begins quietly in a meditative manner, and it also remains very delicate and impressionistic, evoking images of soft summer rain.

Even though I was mildly disappointed at first, due to my own expectations, I believe this unique album is a grower, definitely it's full of original and fine musicianship.

1 comment:

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