Junkyard Ball an Eclectic Delight

Junkyard Ball
Lusti Music and Arts 009

It’s a Celtic music ensemble? No, wait, it’s a small jazz combo. Or is it a Finnish traditional music? I’m sorry; I meant to say this is an album of experimental music. If there’s an award for truth in musical advertising, wrap it and ship to Finland’s Tero Hyvälouma–the music contained on this CD’s eight peripatetic tracks covers so much musical turf that junkyard is as good a classification as any. Pretty fancy junk, though. Hyvälouma is the latest innovative musician to emerge from the Sibelius Academy, where he concentrated on violin. Let’s just say that the academy didn’t sidetrack Hyvälouma’s eclecticism. He is clearly in command of the fiddle, but he also showcases his talents on bouzouki, harmonium, and glockenspiel. (Glockenspiel! Who plays that any more? Glad he does.) Hyvälouma fronts a five-piece band that’s supplemented with 11 guest musicians, so you can add occasional forays into symphonic sounds to the list of influences you’ll hear on this CD. But I pity any retail clerk that has to pick a category into which to stock this CD. The record company calls it “Finnish folk music,” but the album’s sole traditional song, “Läksin mina kesäyonä,” welcomes three female singers into a arrangement that has the feel of ancient music backed by jazz piano. The title track opens with loud accordion and fiddle soaked in enough funk to evoke stride jazz, sans the piano. And when the piano does emerge in the mix, we’re decidedly into progressive jazz territory, complete with Nika Votkin’s bridging drum solo. A bit of scat and double bass and, before you know it, you’re in a place where meaty blues licks intersect with discordance. How about if we just label it eight tracks of intrigue and skillful musicianship? 
Rob Weir

No comments: