Verneri Pohjola Quartet

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COMPOSERS: Verneri Pohjola Quartet
LABELS: ACT
ALBUM TITLE: Verneri Pohjola Quartet
WORKS: Ancient History
PERFORMER: Verneri Pohjola (tp), Aki Rissanen (pno), Antti Lötjönen (bass), Jukka Perko (sax), Joonas Riippa (drums) etc
CATALOGUE NO: 9517-2

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The opening track ‘Deism’ on this second album by Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola sets a scene of arresting stillness – both sombre and uplifting, reflective yet restless. The serene piano hook of Aki Rissanen combines with the restrained cymbal work of Joonas Riipa to perfectly underpin the ebb and flow of Pohjola’s haunting trumpet.
Throughout Ancient History the pace has been carefully thought through, from edgily upbeat rhythmic numbers, to the dreamy title track, or the almost creepy piano-led ‘White View’. And it’s clear that fun was had in the percussion department when the band worked out this cover version of Björk’s ‘Hyperballad’.
‘Cheap Taxi Adventure’ is a catchy highlight, creating a quirky hard bop groove, as its tight trumpet/sax tunes lock down over a spiky bass. Pohjola’s debut album Aurora, with its big band setting was well received but, for my money, this more intimate successor is just as intriguing.

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Neil McKim