Antti Lötjönen 'Erzeben Strasse' (We Jazz Records)
18th March 2021
Antti Lötjönen / Koma Saxo
'Erzeben Strasse' / 'Erzeben Koma'
(We Jazz Records)
Something a bit different from what we typically cover here on 45 Live as we head over to Helsinki for bassist Antti Lötjönen's new excursion. A really slick slice of modern bop that wouldn't sound out of place on a Blue Note rarity.
Now, not being a jazz musician, it can be challenging to understand the harmonic scales, varied time signatures, or compositional forms in a piece of music like this, or what may make it stand out in a structural sense? How can a layperson ever really enjoy jazz if they don't understand what is happening on a deeper level, even if that said musician explained it beforehand?! Or it could be the case that this does not matter at all, it's about how it sounds, pure and simple. Obviously, it's a balance of both of those things, and as a listener rather than practitioner, within each conjecture there is emotion. And for this record this is where I 'feel' it the most, on 'Erzeben Strasse', Antti's bass is both swinging and rock-solid with Joonas Riippa anarchically laying down the beats. Saxophones and trumpets complete the sonic landscape and succinctly bounce around the rhythm. Each element is allowed to express itself, taking turns to meander on a theme before everything coalesces again, again and again. I have to pick out Jussi Kannaste opening sax licks, and Verneri Pohjola's trumpet breakdown which are both just wonderful.
A stark contrast between the classic bop of the A side, Komo Saxo's 'Erzeben Koma' is another beast entirely. A boundary-breaking piece of music that sometimes feels like a film score, then broken beat, then free jazz, and experimentally at all points between. It's hard to pin down exactly, so it obviously doesn't want to be restricted, the arrangement is a journey more than a groove and there are some great views along the way.
Whilst this is certainly not a peak time floor filler 45, for those that find space in their sets for stuff like this, or who simply love collecting jazz on 7, then this double A side is about as classy as you can get.