JERE LAUKKANEN'S FINISH AFRO-CUBAN JAZZ ORCHESTRA
The Jere Laukkanen Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra was founded in 1966 in Helsinki,
Finland. Lead trumpet player Sami Poyhonen got together with the leader to
form a "second home" for Finish jazz musicians interested in playing Afro-Cuban
The pioneer of this style was Dizzy Gillespie, who always had Afro themes
in his programme and wrote Manteca, although the arrangement is new.
This CD came as a very pleasant surprise to me, a number of the previous
Big Band albums I have heard from the NAXOS label, have been very esoteric,
containing music that is much more fun to play, than listen to. This album
satisfies both sides, you can feel the musicians enjoying themselves and
it is great to listen to. Finland is not the first place you would expect
to find a Big band of this quality, playing excellent original arrangements,
with excellent soloists. It demonstrates the way the rest of the world has
closed the gap with the USA where jazz is concerned.
Teen Town is a Weather Report tune remodelled for Big Band with an
interesting Tuba solo from Mikko Mustonen. Hispaniola is a Laukkanen
original featuring Bass Trombone player Mikael Langbacka.
Manteca has some fine Guitar from Markku Martikainen, followed by
some Saxophone chase choruses. Tracks 4,5&6 are a Suite called the
Tercer Verano (Third Summer) features Yoel Terry on Flute. The final
number features Pekka Pylkkanen on Alto and Teemu Mattsson on Trumpet.
This is a good band, playing good arrangements and well worth a listen by
anyone who like me is a fan of melodic Big Band jazz.
Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and bandleader in Coventry,