Finland’s trumpeter and composer, Verneri Pohjola, gave a supreme performance at April Jazz 2012.
‘Deism’ was an intimate opening entry into his musicality, an emotional statement to leave no doubt in the audience’s mind of the trumpeter’s subtle complexity.
He was joined by Aki Rissanen on piano, his improvisation delicate and compelling, with strumming piano strings and driving lyrical counters supporting Verneri’s trumpet. Underpinning the delivery was the effervescent drumming of Joonas Riipa and Antti Lötjönen on bass. Riipa was sumptuously creative with his kit, with percussive upside-down breakfast bowls to offset the rolling rhythms on ‘Hyperballad’, a 2 x 4 length of wood to achieve a particular resonance elsewhere, the occasional whistle…, providing as much visual pleasure for the audience as he did sonically. Lötjönen on bass was versatile and energetic, simplifying the backbone at times and then propelling it forwards, especially on ‘Cheap Taxi Adventure’, a piece conceived after a ride in a crazily driven cab in Shanghai.
A teacher, mentor and friend to Verneri, Jukka Perko, added the saxophone to this quartet of stature. A bundle of energy on stage would be an understatement. His solo’s were oozing from note to note a purist zest and alertness with spectacular playing technique. A graceful player that left the audience wanting way more.
‘Ancient History’, the title track of his recent album, was the encore number. Providing much to understanding his tonality, this is a massive piece that deserves your fullest attention. Not only is he articulate with intonation but it’s beautifully haunting and persuasive. Rissanen was softly punching delicate undertones to further deliver an enigmatic final performance.
Simply, the best way to end a night of powerful contemporary musicianship from stellar jazz linguists.
We caught up with Verneri just before the gig to have a chat. The full video interview will be published later this week in our brand new section ‘Take The Stand’.
Full Line Up
- Verneri Pohjola – Trumpet
- Aki Rissanen – Piano
- Joonas Riippa – Drums
- Antti Lötjönen – Bass
- Jukka Perko – Saxophone
His album ‘Ancient History’ is available on iTunes.
Pictures: The Image Of Jazz