Sphere of in­flu­ence

The jazz trio is brought to dizzy­ing life in the hands of Alexi Tuo­mar­ila and friends

BBC Music Magazine - - Jazz -

Alexi Tuo­mar­ila Trio

Sphere

Alexi Tuo­mar­ila (pi­ano), Mats Eil­ert­sen (bass), Olavi Louhivuori (drums), Verneri Po­hjola (trum­pet)

Edi­tion EDN 1128

This month’s se­lec­tion vividly il­lus­trates how all-em­brac­ing and elas­tic are the bound­aries of jazz, with in­flu­ences drawn from var­i­ous gen­res and cul­tures. There is also no short­age of elec­tronic jig­gery­pok­ery, which may of­fend purists but does pro­duce en­gag­ing, intriguing, of­ten ex­cit­ing and/or beau­ti­ful mu­sic. It may there­fore seem some­what per­verse that I have plumped for a ba­sic pi­ano trio as my Choice against very strong com­pe­ti­tion, but Sphere demon­strates how much life per­sists in this rel­a­tively sim­ple, ex­posed for­mat. The open­ing track, ‘Shapeshift­er’, a dizzy­ing dis­play of bustling, in­sis­tent fig­ures, grabs you by the lapels, fix­ing you with its glit­ter­ing eye. It’s fol­lowed by ‘Jord’, a blis­ter­ing, tur­bu­lent, largely free work­out which un­ex­pect­edly re­solves into a re­strained an­themic coda. The trio is by no means fe­ro­cious all the time, as the gor­geous bal­lads ‘Sir­ius’ and ‘Un­fold’ demon­strate. Po­hjola joins in on ‘Jord’ and two more of the eight tracks, but mostly the stage is held by the trio, all three men play­ing with the sort of élan, zest and inventiven­ess that re­minds me why I was se­duced by jazz in the first place. ★★★★★

In­fec­tious per­for­mance: Tuo­mar­ila, Eil­ert­sen and Louhivuori play with zest

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