The latest release by Helsinki’s Ricky-Tick Records, “Lampela X Eskola”, is the fruitful meeting of composer Jussi Lampela and trumpet star Jukka Eskola. The Jussi Lampela Nonet, featured on the album with Eskola on trumpet, is a tough collection of Finnish jazz Alisters, and their music is potent contemporary jazz with an aesthetic edge reminiscent of the “cool jazz” era and the famous co-operation of Miles Davis and Gil Evans.
On “Lampela X Eskola”, composer Jussi Lampela realizes his dream of recording an album in the “cool jazz” vein not unlike that of Miles Davis’s and Gil Evans’s famed collaboration in the late 1940′s. His ensemble here includes a group of hard-hitting young Finnish jazz musicians, among them Timo Lassy (baritone sax / flute), Jussi Lehtonen (drums), Ari Jokelainen (alto sax), and the most internationally successful Finnish jazz player thus far, Jukkis Uotila (piano). On top if it all is is the trumpet savvy of Jukka Eskola, previously known from the ranks of The Five Corners Quintet, Jimi Tenor Band, and of course his own quintet ensemble, to name but a few.
The case presented here is strictly grade A jazz from 2011, albeit with a strong base on the tradition. The album was recorded live on the studio and it successfully captures the ensemble’s remarkable sense of unity, soloistic variety, compositonal innovation, and their knack at achieveng a driving brand of no-nonsense swing while going at it.
Jussi Lampela’s compositions elegantly highlight the various assets of his Nonet during the course of the album’s nine tracks. The LP opens up with the glorious chamber stylings of ‘Half Lament’, then proceeds to the effortlessly snappy swing of “Afternoon In Central Park” and onwards, sonically ever-colourful right up to closer, “The Right Nighttime”. Jukka Eskola’s brilliace shines bright at the forefront of the strong ensemble, especially in compositions such as “The Different Angle”, where Lampela puts his star firmly on the driver’s seat.
It is never easy to place new music into the continuum of legendary jazz from the hayday of the genre’s early days. Still, Jussi Lampela and his entourage succeed against such remarkable expectations with astonishing ease, making the music on “Lampela X Eskola” their own right down to the bone. The cool jazz tradtion here is a frame of reference‚ and a starting point, rather than the goal or the desired end product.
Their goal proper, making great jazz in 2011, the new album “Lampela X Eskola” certainly achieves.
02. Afternoon In Central Park
03. Way Ahead
04. Drivin’ & Cruisin’
07. Together We Went
08. The Different Angle
09. The Right Nighttime
The album Jussi Lampela Nonet Feat. Jukka Eskola “Lampela & Eskola” (Ricky Tick) is going to be released July 22, 2011.