Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Olli Ahvenlahti - 1975 - Bandstand

Olli Ahvenlahti 

01. Breeze 6:45
02. Countenance 6:12
03. The Daughter 6:31
04. Cadenza For Christina 5:45
05. Sandy 6:50
06. Havana Two 8:14

– Olli Ahvenlahti - pianos, clavinet, synthesizers
– Pekka Pöyry - alto saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
– Pekka Sarmanto - bass
– Esko Rosnell - drums, percussion
– Bernt Rosengren - tenor saxophone
– Bertil Löfgren - trumpet, flugelhorn

When legendary producer Otto Donner of Love Records approached Olli Ahvenlahti and said: ”Olli, maybe it’s time for you to record your first solo album”, the pianist did not hesitate. After all, not too many jazz musicians had such a lucky break in 1970s Finland. Moreover, Donner was right. Olli Ahvenlahti had studied church music at the Sibelius Academy as well as English philology at the University of Helsinki. He had been active in the Helsinki club scene as well as in various studio sessions, including Pekka Streng’s prog folk LP Kesämaa and jazzfunk recordings for Eero Koivistoinen’s celebrated album Wahoo! Most importantly, Otto Donner knew that Olli Ahvenlahti was ready for the test. The young pianist had written music that demanded to be released in an album format.
At the time, Ahvenlahti was extremely interested in the electric jazz music that Miles Davis had popularised in the late 1960s. On the other hand, he had not abandoned his love for melodic piano improvisations á la Erroll Garner and, especially, Bill Evans. Recorded over five days in September 1974 in the Marcus Music studios, Stockholm (interestingly, a week earlier rock group Hurriganes had finished their all-time Finnish album classic Roadrunner in the same studios), and launched in April 1975, Bandstand brought together these two jazz traditions.

Sweet keys from 70s Finland – a great little set that's filled with jazzy work on electric piano and clavinet! Keyboardist Olli Ahvenlahti has a touch that's as warm and soulful as some of his counterparts on the American fusion scene – an approach that's not nearly as jamming or rock-influenced as some of the other European keyboardists of the 70s, and which is carried off here with a gliding, soaring approach to the groove! Olli's group on the set features trumpet and sax in the frontline – shading in the tunes with qualities similar to some of the most righteous work done on keyboard sets for Muse or Strata East in the 70s – funky one minute, cosmic the next, with tight head arrangements that state the colors of the tunes, then break into freer solos.

1 comment:

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