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Landmark (MP3 album)

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Landmark (MP3 album) - D
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Mika Pohjola's Landmark recording features Miguel Zenon, Ben Monder, Fernando Huergo, Roberto Dani and Johanna Grussner. "Superbly inventive jazz music" -Jazz Review

16 MP3 Songs in this album (76:06) !
Related styles: JAZZ: Jazz Fusion, JAZZ: Jazz-Funk

People who are interested in Chick Corea Wayne Shorter Weather Report should consider this download.


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LINER NOTES by Bill Milkowski

Pianist-composer Mika Pohjola has for the past six years been part of a very vital jazz scene that exists in downtown Manhattan. Set in close proximity to the hallowed Village Vanguard and the tourist-friendly Blue Note jazz club, this alternative scene is nevertheless light years ahead in terms of attitude, style and approach to the music. While its music draws liberally from the jazz tradition, improvisation being a prime ingredient in the mix, it also includes elements of rock, avant garde, European classical, world music, funk and pop. An inventive composer, the transplanted Helsinki-born pianist has brought a wealth of ideas and boundless enthusiasm to the downtown scene since arriving in New York. With Ben Monder on guitar, Miguel Zenón on alto sax and flute, Roberto Dani on drums, Fernando Huergo on bass and special guest Johanna Grüssner on vocals, Pohjola has assembled a crackling, flexible crew that can easily run the gamut from odd-metered Zappa-esque romps to soothing, romantic ballads, from Passport-ish fusion vehicles to 4th century Gregorian hymns, from lilting lullabies to searing rock-fueled jams, from evocative, cinematic themes to scintillating Swedish vocalese. While much of the music here is quite demanding, this skilled unit navigates Pohjola's tricky meters and intricate unison lines with seasoned aplomb. And though it may be strictly composed and meticulously arranged material, there is still plenty of room within these structures for the soloists to blow, notably guitar monster Monder and the pungent-toned alto burner https://www.tradebit.composer & pianist Mika Pohjola's sixth album Landmark with his current working group "is a dedication to the beautiful spirit of New York City" Pohjola says. "There is a certain drive for pushing boundaries here," he explains. Indeed, he does some serious boundary pushing on provocative pieces like the title track, Landmark, Future Apparent, the raucous, anthemic Young in the '80s and the suite-like Retrospectives. Pohjola has assembled a crackling, flexible crew that can easily run the gamut from odd-metered Zappa-esque romps to soothing, romantic ballads, from Passport-ish fusion vehicles to 4th century Gregorian hymns, from lilting lullabies to searing rock-fueled jams, from evocative, cinematic themes to scintillating https://www.tradebit.comer his arrival in New York, Pohjola naturally gravitated to the downtown scene and soon carved out a niche for himself with his eclectic brand of jazz. He now feels a strong affinity for the spirit of exploration that permeates the downtown scene. With Landmark, Pohjola strikes an appealing balance between heady architecture and heartfelt improvisation.

ALL MUSIC GUIDE Expert Review

This remarkable disc features Mika Pohjola's crafty ensemble, with Miguel Zenón on alto sax and flute, Ben Monder on guitar, Fernando Huergo on bass, and Roberto Dani on drums, with Johanna Grüssner contributing haunting vocals on occasion. Pohjola plays Fender Rhodes and other electric keys in addition to acoustic piano; on Landmark and Retrospectives he doubles certain melodies on harpsichord, as he has done on two previous albums (he may well be the first musician to employ the arcane instrument in a modern jazz ensemble, although Herbie Hancock played an electric harpsichord on a couple of unissued Miles Davis tracks in the late 60s.) Compositionally, Pohjola's work is involved yet infectious and profoundly melodic, driven by the virtuosity and strong personalities of his players. On tracks like Screenplay and Future Apparent the band purveys a hip, appealing species of electric jazz; the fluid melodies and richly layered sounds are somewhat reminiscent of Kurt Rosenwinkel's The Enemies of Energy. Pohjola's mellower side comes through on A Ballad About Something and Old Couples Lullaby. In contrast, he makes loud mischief on the rhythmically skewered punk of Young in the '80s and conveys a peculiar, semi-rubato feel on the evocative Summer Garden (which features Monder and Dani in a duo exchange toward the end). Pohjola also works wonders with Grüssner's voice on an inspired arrangement of the fourth century Ambrosian hymn Psalm 549, as well as the Finnish-titled Reppurin Laulu (Vagabond's Song), the lyrics of which are in the Karelian language. The highly recommended Landmark sets the bar very high for creative https://www.tradebit.comre is an underground alternative jazz scene that is beginning to bubble over the surface and its starting to leak into all the different areas of music and culture. It's based in Manhattan New York. People like Mika are leading the way. When you get a four star review with the All Music Guide you have made the grade. This gentleman has arrived in a big way. I knew that he would, and the deserving recognition was just around the corner after the last release. Yes, I knew that he was special, and so will you when you hear his music. This is the perfect title for this CD; it is no doubt a Landmark release.

REVIEWS

I really don't like to label anyone or categorize an artist, but I have to say it, Mika Pohjola is a modern progressive jazz genius. This is now the third album I have heard by this Finnish born keyboard player and it is unequivocally his most ambitious and complete work to date. Implementing the harpsichord is very unusual and it's done in a very subtle and convincing way. That aspect alone puts this music in a progressive niche. After listening to literally hundreds of jazz CDs I have found a prevailing common denominator, when a saxophone is present it seems to put all the other instruments into the background. This recording is no exception to that. "Landmark" is superbly inventive jazz music, and Pohjola acts as a conductor at times letting the rest of the band go their merry way to improvise as they see fit, which falls right in line with what the maestro is trying to accomplish. Pohjola's incredible diverse and melodic keyboards aren't given the ability to be the focus and main attraction. If there is any criticism that I could offer it is only one thing, next time out Mika, let your talent be more upfront, you deserve it. I know this probably goes against the grain and is not the nature of the artist. For sake of brevity I just want to say that I think this man is in command of his craft; I just want to hear him alone playing a few compositions with no accompaniment. Okay, I am being selfish; I really want to focus on just his playing without any other instruments to pull me away. There is an underground alternative jazz scene that is beginning to bubble over the surface and its starting to leak into all the different areas of music and culture. It's based in Manhattan New York. People like Mika are leading the way. When you get a four star review with the All Music Guide you have made the grade. This gentleman has arrived in a big way. I knew that he would, and the deserving recognition was just around the corner after the last release. Yes, I knew that he was special, and so will you when you hear his music. This is the perfect title for this CD; it is no doubt a Landmark release.
Jazz Review

Pianist/composer, Mika Pohjola represents one of those rare entities in modern music as his often-complex compositional style generally yields straightforward and easily attainable results. A musical mind at work for sure; however, Pohjola's uncanny knack for integrating sonorous melodies with multi-layered and intricately formulated arrangements elicits notions of listener-friendliness.
All About Jazz

With his latest effort, Pohjola garners strong support from New York City-based guitarist, Ben Monder, alto saxophonist, Miguel Zenón, and others for a multifarious and deeply stylized program. On the opener 'Landmark,' Pohjola employs harpsichord, synths and Fender Rhodes piano atop the rhythm sections' bustling pulse and Johanna Grüssner's harmonious wordless vocals. Here and throughout, Monder and Zenon engage in lilting choruses, poignant lines and make excellent use of space and depth. Conversely, Pohjola acts as the painter via his quaintly executed synth treatments, and acute sense of swing and rhythm. Meanwhile, Johanna Grussner provides the Midas touch on several pieces including the quasi hymn-like, folk melody titled, 'Reppurin laulu.' The divergent mix continues on the hard driving 'Young in the 80's,' as Monder puts the pedal to the metal for some blistering, supercharged guitar work in concert with Pohjola and Zenón, anthem-like choruses. The pianist provides lucid imagery with a maturely stated melody on 'Old Couples Lullaby;' whereby Monder's dusky mid-tone electric and Ms. Grüssner's warm vocalise trigger the emotive elements. Overall, there's a lot to get excited about during this superbly crafted set, largely due to the leader's creative spirit and unassailable infatuation with the jazz vernacular! Recommended.
Glenn Astarita

Landmark is a remarkable fusion of contemporary jazz motifs that highlight the creative genius of composer-pianist, Mika Pohjola. This collection features 13 memorable songs performed to perfection by this gifted pianist and his fellow musicians. These are long, enjoyable and entertaining songs, and one that is sure to catch the attention of jazz audiences is "Summer Garden," and also, the intricate Landmark. For something unusual and pensive, there are Psalm 549, Old Couples Lullaby, and Retrospectives which has a running time of 7:58 minutes. Every performer on this new CD collection is perfect for the music, and the voice performances of Johanna Grussner will surprise and delight listening audiences with its sensitive approaches. Miguel Zenon gives some fine expressions with alto saxophone and flute as does Ben Monder on guitar, and Fernando Huergo on bass. Roberto Dani is outstanding on drums and percussion. Those who enjoy the music and performance stylings of pianist Mika Pohjola will find this new collection a showcase for his fine talents as both composer and pianist. Mika Pohjola just keeps turning out excellent contemporay jazz recordings, and Landmark is another example of how good a jazz artist he is. For piano and performances enjoyment, Landmark is a five-star winner. Congratulations to Mika Pohjola and his group for a job well done! Excellent.
Lee Prosser

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