Verneri Pohjola – Aurora (2011)

Finnish trumpeter/composer Verneri Pohjola seems to be a huge Miles Davis fan and the spirit of the “Dark Magus” is all over “Aurora”, more, its include also an exciting re-work of Rodrigo’s “Concierto de Aranjuez”, not in the manner of Davis and Gil Evans on “Sketches of Spain”, but adding to it another – his own – perspective.
Pohjola was born in 1977, the son of bassist Pekka Pohjola, a legend of Finnish jazz and a player with an international reputation. He writes music and performs with several renowned groups in the fields of jazz, soul and rock. His main work include the jazz foursome Ilmiliekki Quartet and the indie/art rock band Silvio in which he plays Rhodes-piano and drums. Pohjola also contributes to groups such as Quintessence, Q-Continuum and Warp!, to name only a few. In 2008 he released an experimental sound collage, Michelin Star, only namely to be dubbed as jazz with drummer Joonas Riippa.
Released by Texicalli Records in February 2009, “Aurora” was re-released this year by German label Act Music.

Pohjola’s major inspiration is Miles Davis, particularly the legendary “Birth Of The Cool” recordings from 1947. Pohjola takes the influences of Davis and Gil Evans and filters them through an uniquely Finnish perspective adding folk and classical elements to the Davis/Evans template. Alining a total of fifteen musicians on the recording gives a nice, sparkling colour to this material without being crowded, all the orchestrations and arrangements are spacious, subtle and smooth, still, absolutely groovy and flowing.
Different combinations of musicians appear on different tracks and Pohjola has described the work as being more like collection of short stories than a novele. Beautiful ones and the hauntingly catchy atmosphere and vibe is hypnotizing.

“In the past couple of years have seen Pohjola’s name pop up often just where it should have done. The project’s featuring the skills of the young trumpetist include Ilmiliekki Quartet, one of the internationally most successful Finnish jazz ensembles, the ECM recording Iro Haarla Quintet, “Agatha”, a best-selling album collaboration between Pohjola, Finland’s premier big band UMO, and composer Kerkko Koskinen, to name but a few. Pohjola has also recently toured with his critically acclaimed Miles Davis tribute project featuring the cream of the crop of the young Finnish jazz players, featured in top ranking soul vocalist Tuomo’s live ensemble, and recorded an experimental album with drummer Joonas Riippa for Aeon/Ilma Records. …. Thus, we introduce Verneri Pohjola, the solo artist, with both great pleasure and high expectations. His debut album, “Aurora”, is not put together with an entirely common recipe. That is, the album presents the leader of the session neither with a set combo, nor a solo studio setting so common these days. Instead, the album is a collection of eight pieces, each of which carry with them their own musical narrative. The collective of artists on this albums are each on top of their game, and each composition is met with a different instrumentation conducted by Pohjola to best fit the mood he is after. …. No matter how you look at it, the array of instrumentalists making “Aurora” happen are first rate. The representatives of the strong young voice in Finnish jazz, Aki Rissanen, Antti Lötjönen, Joonas Riippa, Olavi Louhivuori, Ilmari Pohjola, Ville Herrala, and Mika Kallio, are all perhaps not yet household names on the international jazz circuit, but are nevertheless already making big waves nationally in various highly rated ensembles. Juhani Aaltonen, Pepa Päivinen, and the late, also internationally noted jazz great, bassist Pekka Pohjola, represent the history of jazz music in Finland and each bring their strong visions to meet with that of Verneri Pohjola’s.” (Official Bio)

Verneri Pohjola @ MySpace
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Verneri Pohjala @ Act Music

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