Sunday, February 14, 2016

Olli Ahvenlahti - 1976 - The Poet

Olli Ahvenlahti 
The Poet

01. The Poet
02. Sunday’s Stuff
03. Aura
04. Sambatown (Rock Ridge)
05. A Day At The Zoo
06. Grandma’s Rocking Chair

Olli Ahvenlahti — piano, electric piano, organ, synthesizer
Markku Johansson — trumpet, fluegelhorn
Bertil Strandberg — trombone
Pekka Pöyry — soprano saxophone
Eero Koivistoinen — tenor saxophone
Pekka Pohjola — bass
Esko Rosnell — drums, pecussion
Tommy Körberg — pecussion
Georg Wadenius — pecussion

Centred around the most popular track "Grandma's Rocking Chair" this album leads you from one funky jazz rhythm to another. All tracks are well orchestrated by the man who also contributed in Finland's entries to the Eurovision Song Contest. From cinematic moods in the opener and title track "The Poet" to uptempo tunes with funky rhythms and dynamic horns like "Sambatown (Rock Ridge)" this album really shows you why it has been on the list of so many diggers.

Funky music comes in many forms and genres, and jazz is no exception. A lot of us go nuts for these early to mid 70’s jazz funk gems that we can buy for a dollar. This original, if you bought for a dollar would be quite a score. However, Mr. Bongo has more treats for you besides his Brazil 45s series. It’s a Finnish jazz funk gem from pianist Olli Ahvenlahti. Originally released on Love Records of Finland in 1976, this record is hard to come by. Ahvenlahti is one of Finland’s most well known jazz musicians, through his work with the UMO Jazz Orchestra and Eurovision Songwriting Contest for which he conducted for eight years in he 1990’s. He now composes music for radio and television in Finland at YLE.

This record became hot in the 90’s as the London acid jazz scene picked up the tune “Grandma’s Rocking Chair”. Dancers dug its pace and percussion, and Kenny Dope reworked it in 2001. Sides like the title track “The Poet” and “A Day At The Zoo” are soul jazz at its finest, while the upbeat “Sambatown (Rockridge)” throws in some latin flavor for good measure. A fusion track we really dig is called “Sunday’s Stuff”. The Billy Cobham-esque drums, those horns, and killer bass get us throughout the whole seven plus minutes. This is definitely the kind of stuff we like to stand behind!

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