BBC Music Magazine

Sphere of influence

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


Alexi Tuomarila Trio


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
Infectious performanc­e: Tuomarila, Eilertsen and Louhivuori play with zest
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