Verneri Phjola: Bullhorn

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COMPOSERS: Verneri Phjola
LABELS: Edition
ALBUM TITLE: Bullhorn
PERFORMER: Verneri Pohjola (trumpet), Aki Rissanen (piano), Antti Lötjönen (trombone) etc
CATALOGUE NO: EDN1056

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Finnish jazz musicians have never featured prominently among the ranks of Nordic players exporting their brand of iced blue notes to the rest of the world. But Finland does have a jazz scene and trumpet player Verneri Pohjola is currently, arguably, its leading northern light. But, unlike many of his Scandinavian counterparts, Pohjola’s sound isn’t immediately identifiable with northern culture. And on this, his third album as leader, the 36-year-old continues doing his own thing.

The album’s ten original numbers reveal a technically brilliant player who likes to explore the full range of possibilities on his horn, from fleet lines with a pure burnished sound to something more like a grainy, burred exhalation. The sidemen share Pohjola’s poise and they savour the spaces between each other’s playing. The album title suggests a blunt broadcasting instrument – in fact Pohjola’s Bullhorn is a subtle and persuasive grower.

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Garry Booth