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Ounaskari/Mikkonen/Jorgensen: Kuara-Psalms and Folk Songs

Kuara-Psalms and Folk Songs, is the latest release from the Finnish duo of drummer Markku Ounaskari and pianist Samuli Mikkonen, along with Norwegian trumpet player/vocalist Per Jorgensen. At times stark & tranquil, others quite majestic & peaceful, Kuara always allows the listener to drift into a meditative state, and feel safe in doing so. Not something every jazz release is able to do.

Mikkonen is a wonderful pianist, but this should come as no surprise to those who've followed his career. His stunning melodies, supported by Ounaskari's gentle stick work on "Mountain of Sorrow", is a joy to listen to. The mysterious "Sjuan Mad' " has just enough swing, thanks to some catchy piano vamps and Jorgensen's tasty trumpet lines, and the addicting "Psalm CXXI" just pulls you in with its alluring melodies and never lets go. For something slightly more upbeat, there is the lean, mean "Aallot", complete with complex piano & drum passages, and "The Gypsy's Stone" has perhaps Mikkonen's most stunning notes on the whole album.

If anything, Kuara-Psalms and Folk Songs might be a bit too tranquil and laid back for its own good, and some might not go for Jorgensen's vocalizations on a few of the cuts, but there's no denying the beauty of many of these songs. Those into the more relaxing, rustic jazz flavors would be well advised to seek this one out. Another solid CD from the always impressive ECM roster.

Track Listing

  1. Polychronion
  2. Psalm CXXI
  3. Tuuin Tuuin
  4. Aallot
  5. Introit
  6. Pitkä Pajo
  7. Introit / Changing Paths (1)
  8. The Gypsy's Stone
  9. Pikkumetsä
  10. Soldat Keljangúr
  11. Mountain of Sorrow
  12. Introit / Changing Paths (2)
  13. Sjuan Mad'
  14. Sjuan Gúr

Added: December 20th 2010
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: ECM Records
Hits: 2359
Language: english

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