Review: It's now been a decade since Finnish combo Black Motor impressed with their eponymous debut album. Numerous impressive albums later, the trio of drummer Simo Laihonen, double bass player Ville Rauhala and saxophonist Tane Kannisto is still growing strong. While they were once fearless exponents of challenging free jazz, Branches is an altogether smokier and more atmospheric affair. While it's clear that there's still plenty of improvisation throughout, the grooves are tidier and the sax lines more evocative, as if they were designed to soundtrack melancholic walks through damp city streets after midnight. It's certainly more accessible to newcomers than some of the work and makes for hugely enjoyable listening.
Review: It was two years ago when Finnish combo Bowman Trio (AKA trumpeter Tomi Nikku, double bassist Joonas Tuuri and drummer Sami Nummela) first rocked up on We Jazz to showcase their particular brand of "loft jazz". This fine single is the three-piece's first new material since the release of their eponymous debut LP in 2016. Both original compositions are pretty darn good, especially A-side "The Chase (Version 1)", where Tuuri's rubbery, "Bullit"-style bassline and Nikku's headline-grabbing trumpet solos brilliantly wrap themselves around Nummela's hybrid jazz/bossa-nova beats. The band opt for an altogether sunnier sound on flipside "The Hillary Step", an invitation to dance from the halcyon days of swing-time jazz that includes some killer stop-start sections and impeccable drum fills.
Review: Jukka Perko Tritone is a Finnish jazz trio helmed by saxophonist Jukka Perko, alongside bassist Antti Lotjonen and drummer Teppo Makynen, AKA Teddy Rok. Dizzy, their debut album, and is largely made up of distinctive interpretations of works by the great Dizzy Gillespie. They begin with a radical riff on Gillespie's "Bebop" - all polyrhythmic drums and hectic sax lines - before delivering a moody and Afro-jazz influenced take on Thelonious Monk's "Round Midnight". There's a surprising fuzziness to the production of their stellar version of Gillespie and George Russell's much-loved "Cubano Be, Cubano Bop", while their version of "Con Alma" us a wonderfully atmospheric and meandering affair. Arguably best of all, though, is their intoxicating take on Ernie Wilkins' 1963 tribute to Gillespie, "Dizzy's Business".
Review: Finnish trio Mopo earned plenty of plaudits for their most recent album (their fourth in total), "Mopocalypse". It's from that fine set that A-side "Riisto" is taken. Given that the track is a deliciously fuzzy, low-slung floor-rocker - think distorted, Afro-funk influenced horns, frenetic drums and a heavy, full-throttle bassline reminiscent of some of the heaviest '60s and '70s deep funk records known to humanity - it's an inspired choice of single. The B-side is pretty darn tasty, too. Groovier and more relaxed with decidedly psychedelic analogue synth action (presumably provided by guest collaborator Jimi Tenor), "Acid Panama" is every bit as inspired as "Riisto" in its own peculiar way.