Verneri Pohjola: Pekka review – eclectic Finnish trumpeter takes on jazz rock | Music

With his atmospheric last album, Bullhorn, Finnish trumpeter-composer Verneri Pohjola expanded his reputation as one of his nation’s most creative musical exports, mixing folk-themed, north European pensiveness with surefooted avant-swing. Pekka is a more eclectic affair, with a strong jazz-rock presence reflecting its heartfelt theme: the innovative cross-genre music of the trumpeter’s Zappa-inspired prog-rocking late father Pekka Pohjola. The Dragon Of Kätkävaara (from Pohjola Snr’s 1980 album, Kätkävaaran Lohikäärme) is remoulded as liquid Fender Rhodes and bass-guitar grooves floating beneath the leader’s gently talkative trumpet, before a jazzier rhythm section feel sets him cliffhangingly loose. The choral First Morning is a rousing anthem; a spacey tone-poetry reminiscent of Miles Davis’s 1969 In a Silent Way washes around Inke and Me; while stormily booming gongs, the wistfully shapely improvisations of guitarist Teemu Viinikainen and bassist Antti Lötjönen and some simmering electronic effects precede a poised and vocal-toned Pohjola improvisation on Madness Subsides. This unique Finnish artist’s default position seems to be to produce beautiful music.

Verneri Pohjola: Pekka album preview video

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