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Monday, Jul 05 2010 | 11:53 Buy this now at GoodToGo (B2B)

Meet saxophone player Olli Ojajärvi, gearing up for the release of his debut album “Out Of Mind”. Boasting a steadily talented line-up, the Olli Ojajärvi Trio ranks among the most potential newcomers in contemporary Finnish jazz. Olli Ojajärvi, born in 1971, is a highly regarded figure in the Finnish jazz scene. Through his work with the country’s premiere big band, the UMO Jazz Orchestra, plus several other ensembles, Ojajärvi is frequently name-dropped in conversations regarding Finnish jazz of the highest calibre.

The Olli Ojajärvi Trio is a combination of three strong players. In Jan Simons (bass) and Markku Ounaskari (drums), Ojajärvi has a rhythm section that provides steady backing and also paves the way when the time is right. Both Simons and Ounaskari are sought after instrumentalists with a strong presence in a wide variety of top-notch ensembles.

“Out Of Mind”, recorded at the Finnish broadcasting company YLE’s studio originally for radio broadcasting, offers nine strong arguments for employing the somewhat minimalist setting of saxophone plus rhythm section. From the strong opener “Stones Tones” to the far-travelling finale “Timbuktu”, Ojajärvi and company succeed in finding their voice as a unit. Each piece of the puzzle fits right in and the maestro shares space with his colleagues with astonishing ease and balance.

Olli Ojajärvi’s expression echoes the influence of saxophone giants such as John Coltrane, Ornette Coleman, Sonny Rollins and Jan Garbarek. His approach towards composing and playing is dynamic, and improvisation has a central position in his music.

Most importantly, Olli Ojajärvi has grasped something essential about trio jazz, and leading an ensemble of that nature. On “Out Of Mind”, he displays a beautiful example of jazz democracy with his trio that is both a well-structured and a well-functioning unit.

Simply put, in Olli Ojajärvi Trio, the three players gel into a single entity. What’s more, they each manage to be more than +1 in the equation which thus yields out an answer infinitely more than 3.

That, unfortunately enough, seems to be a rare treat in modern jazz these days. Let’s enjoy it while we can.

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