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Reviewers: Tony Augarde [Editor], Steve Arloff, Nick Barnard, Pierre Giroux, Don Mather, Glyn Pursglove, George Stacy, Bert Thompson, Sam Webster, Jonathan Woolf

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People, Stories and Dreams

Prophone PCD 129



1. A Dream with Billy and Jacob
2. Ballad of the Baron
3. Wondering
4. Benhard
5. Isoldo
6. Mingmystic
7. Cat Piss Blues

André Sumelius - Drums
Mikko Helevä - Hammond organ
Jukka Eskola - Trumpet, flugelhorn
Mikko Innanen - Alto sax, baritone sax
Jussi Kannaste - Tenor sax


Tonight at Noon is a Finnish quintet which takes its name from a tune by Charles Mingus. In fact the group's previous album was called To Mingus With Love, and this new album has some of the anarchic streak that characterised Mingus, although it consists entirely of originals. The anarchy sometimes spills over into free jazz, honking or meandering without saying a lot. But the band's adventurousness can be appealing - at least on some tracks of this rather short CD (39.25 minutes).
The opening track has the same atmosphere as Sonny Rollins' St Thomas, with fierce baritone sax from Mikko Innanen and thrilling drum breaks from André Sumelius. Ballad of the Baron tends to wander aimlessly, and so does Wondering - at least until the Hammond organ gets some swing moving. Benhard has the air of a Dixieland number, with the horns improvising collectively. In contrast, Isoldo is beboppish, with a gyrating muted trumpet solo from Jukka Eskola. Mingmystic is an almost conventional tune, with a faint hint of Latin rhythm, shifting to and fro into four-four. Cat Piss Blues rambles without much shape and may make the listener feel like telling these young musicians to grow up and pull themselves together.
So this album is very much a curate's egg - good in parts, regrettable elsewhere - but the group's intrepid attitude produces some interestingly unexpected music.
Tony Augarde

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