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Reviewers: Don Mather, Marc Bridle, Ian Lace, Peter Woolf, Colin Clarke

NAXOS JAZZ 86056-2


  1. Teen Town

  2. Hispaniola
  3. Manteca
  4. Obatala
  5. Chango
  6. Ochun
  7. Tercer Verano
  8. Pedazos

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 music.

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 'Three Prayers'

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

Don Mather is a Saxophone Player and bandleader in Coventry, UK

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