The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - MUSIC REVIEWS - COR­MAC LARKIN COR­MAC LARKIN


The list of names alone is enough to make most jazz lis­ten­ers sali­vate. Sep­a­rately, drum­mer Jack DeJohnette, bassist Larry Grenadier, key­boardist John Medeski and gui­tarist John Scofield (listed in scrupu­lously al­pha­bet­i­cal or­der) have been in the front rank of Amer­i­can jazz for the last sev­eral decades. Hud­son, born at the Wood­stock Jazz Fes­ti­val in 2014 and named for the up­state New York river val­ley that is home to so many ur­ban-weary mu­si­cians, is what these star mu­si­cians get up to when they’re not on the road – you know, just your aver­age lo­cal jam band, cut­ting loose with an Amer­i­cana reper­toire that in­cludes tunes by Joni Mitchell, Bob Dy­lan and Rob­bie Robert­son, along­side some stark orig­i­nals. Laid back, ex­pan­sive, play­ful, and im­pec­ca­ble. Motema.com


One might ex­pect a chord­less en­sem­ble, par­tic­u­larly one fronted by a drum­mer, to in­volve a cer­tain amount of bom­bast, but this young Fin­nish quar­tet, led by drum­mer Joonas Leppänen, are look­ing in the other di­rec­tion. Leppänen first came to in­ter­na­tional at­ten­tion as the rhyth­mic force be­hind Big Blue, an echo­ing, wide open take on Nordic cool. Alder Ego sails a lit­tle closer to the main­stream wind, with echoes of Or­nette Cole­man’s pi­ano­less quar­tets and Dave Hol­land’s trail­blaz­ing groups of the 1980s, but Leppänen and his young quar­tet – sax­o­phon­ist Jarno Tikka, trum­peter Tomi Nikku and bassist Teemu Åkerblom – show re­mark­able re­straint, ex­plor­ing the leader’s thought­ful, folk-tinged com­po­si­tions qui­etly, with a sub­tlety and sense of pur­pose that be­lies their years. amp­mu­si­crecords.com

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