February 2001

Pygmy Jazz breaks through

Some of the Finnish participants of the British-Finnish Polar Jazz project have been breaking new ground with ethno-jazz music. By fusing jazz and various ethnic musical styles from African Pygmy music to Saami yoiku, the musicians have, according to Helsingin Sanomat (17 February 2001), created "an exceptionally exciting mood".

Launching a tour of what they call Pygmy Jazz were Sirkka Moström (vocals), Jari Perkiömäki (alto sax and clarinet), Mika Mylläri (trumpet and didjeridoo), Samuli Mikkonen (piano), Jorma Ojanperä (bass) and Markus Ketola (drums). The first concert was held in the Ateneum in Helsinki. The music was composed and adapted from ethnic sources by Moström, Perkiömäki and Mylläri.

Helsingin Sanomat jazz critic Jukka Hauru said that for the young jazz lions the various ethnic musical sources seemed to offer an unexpectedly important springboard.

"At best, the performances were fantastic and the interaction between musicians exceptionally sensitive. The same musicians have proven their credentials together and separately in dozens of contexts but this very combination had a magical chemistry.

"Also the dynamically multifarious, dance-like and fresh themes were a joy to listen to."

Followers of Polar Jazz may remember Mika Mylläri's imaginative use of the didjeridoo at Vortex Jazz Club in London in May 2000.

See also:

Kenny Wheeler hits it off with Jan Simons

27 November 2000

Britain's jazz veterans join forces with young Finns

7 August 2000

Mika Mylläri stars in Pori Jazz

17 July 2000

BURN: "Dynamic project"

30 May 2000

BURN at Vortex and Bath Jazz Festival

29 May 2000

Northern Lights over Stoke Newington

26 May 2000

Wheeler and Mikkonen open Polar Jazz at Vortex

25 May 2000

Kenny Wheeler featured in Polar Jazz

14 April 2000

Ed Jones Quintet's adventures in Finland

June 1998

"A taut front line": Jones and Mylläri tour Scotland and Finland

February 1998

Ed Jones adds Finnish flavour to his jazz band by Chris Parker

January 1998

Finnish jazz benefits from more international contacts: interview with Mika Mylläri

January 1998


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