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Finland's foremost saxophonist continues his musical explorations with this 1998 release on his own Pro label.

The conceptual angle was to fuse jazz with music of the Wolof people of Senegal, whose drumming is considered to be eminently suitable for mixing with external influences because of its rhythmic flexibility.

On the bulk of the CD Koivistoinen is accompanied by his old musical sparring partner, pianist Seppo Kantonen and four drummers, Yamar Thiem on tama (talking drum) and djembe; Pape Sarr, Libasse Sall and Ousseynou Mbaye all play sabar which provide the percussive platform.

This CD represents Koivistoinen's continuing affinity for strong rhythmic development in his music and his ability to unite jazz and other "world" musics to impressive effect.His desire for flexibility in the rhythm section, so evident on lps such as "Wahoo" (incredibly almost 30 years old!!), is perhaps even more evident here.

Some highlights include the hypnotic, loping "Hiere", with Eero's soulful tenor in call and response dialogue with drums and chants; Kantonen's stabbing keyboards impart an almost oriental quality to the song. "Teranga", Koivistoinen's first african -inspired composition, has a township feel to it; the interplay between soprano and keyboards brings to mind Zawinul and Shorter- not a bad mix of influences!! From its optimistic opening "Teranga" snakes into darker waters, with Koivistoinen's motifs weaving in and out of Kantonen's rumbling counterpoint.

Koivistoinen's mastery of the tenor is evident on Shorter's brilliant "JuJu" in which his timing and tone impart the feeling of African mysticism the composition demands. Pappe Sarr's "Xamba" is a bittersweet ode to kindling a woodfire, topped by mellow soprano and synth. Don Cherry's "Elephantasy" , an abrasive Ornette-like sci-fi-like tune , plays out with manic scat/drum/synth dialogue. "Casa De Ferro" opens out almost latin style from its Trane-like beginnings, with some of Eero's deepest tenor on the recording; Kantonen digs in with Tynerish fire. "Thiere" is basically "Hiere" sans drums, but the power of the chant still resonates. What is the next stop in the musical journey of Eero Koivistoinen, Finland's saxophone Odysseus??

Check the 30 second clips from the album...

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