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Heikki Sarmanto Serious Music Ensemble: The Helsinki Tapes Vol 2

For this second installment of the The Helsinki Tapes series of rare live recordings from Finland's Heikki Sarmanto Serious Music Ensemble, taken from the N-Club in Helsinki in 1972, sees the line-up of Heikki Sarmanto (Fender Rhodes), Pekka Sarmanto (bass),Craig Herndon (drums), and Lance Gunderson (guitar) joined by vocalist Maija Hapuoja. With her in tow, the band relies less on expansive instrumental explorations than on Vol. 1 in this series, instead the music takes on a much more atmospheric tone that allows Maija's operatic voice to float over the music, at times utilizing her voice as another instrument in the mix. As such, the feel of these recordings are quite different, but it's when she leaves the stage and lets the band cook that things revert back to searing jazz-rock, as on the fiery "Ibiza" and the majority of the busy "Muy Bonita Ciudad", a rumbling, acrobatic epic filled with energetic drum work and Heikki's tasty electric piano.

More more sedate in nature than its predecessor , The Helsinki Tapes Vol 2 is still an engaging listen from a very talented band. Imagine Annie Haslam of Renaissance singing with a jazz-fusion band in times it works, like on "Le Petit Soldat", but at others there's a bit of a clash. Either way, this is easy to recommend for '70s jazz lovers.

Track Listing
01 Like a Fragonard
02 Grass Dream
03 Ibiza
04 Fallen Grace
05 Wolf
06 Le Petit Soldat
07 Broadway 5821
08 Flowers in the Water
09 Some Wandering Bushmen
10 The Pawn
11 The Player
12 Muy Bonita Ciudad

Added: December 10th 2016
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Svart Records
Hits: 1101
Language: english

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