UMO Jazz Fest 2007 in Helsinki, Finland
And as for the brothers, they were actually not Stances but Mäkynens, with bassist/brother Esa; rounding out the quartet was guitarist Didier Selin (and occasional percussionist) and organ/keyboardist Mikko Helevä. Relying more on a metronomic beat, the drummer nonetheless spurred on an irresistible vibe that, like Oddjob, washed over a listener to the point that one easily forgot all about dynamics, or lack thereof. We were all just along for the ride, however long and similar the sights and sounds becameand that was all right. "Roll Call," featuring the drummer front and center, was one of those tunes that could have gone on for another half hour without complaint. The musicians picked up handheld percussion (from shakers to bongos) similar to Art Blakey's Ritual recordingand a literal roll call attendance was ranted off by the leader behind the drum kit, interspersing exciting breaks and fills between yelling out the names through an effected mic the names of Max Roach, Philly Joe (Jones), Kenny Clarke, Sonny Payne, Ed Blackwell and on down the line, in what seemed at least a hundred or so drummers. A mounting of momentum of drums and percussion swelled and flowed over the excitable and excited crowd, with each name a new level of intensity pushed a quicker tempo to its brink. The tune should actually have either been the closer or ended rather than having segued into what became an undesired letdown with the musicians on their primary instruments. It was anticlimactic admittedly, and as disappointing as it would have been for the band to suddenly sink their teeth into a ballad. I can't imagine them playing one or even wanting tojust simply not their forte.
A young festival still, UMO has the promise to be one of Europe's finest true jazz festivals. Though they certainly haven't and hopefully won't give in to more popular tastes as has their Finnish counterpart in Pori, their work is certainly cut out for them to locate an appropriate location for their festivalnot to mention jazz club, one that will ideally have the advantages of the Church of the Rock without the disadvantages of the Bio Rex. Here's hoping for those ever-jazzy Finns!
Nordic Trinity by Laurence Donohue-Greene
Klaus Suonsaari photo by Maarit Kytöharju/imagekitchen.fi
Sylvie Courvoisier photo by Maarit Kytöharju/imagekitchen.fi
Church photo by Laurence Donohue-Greene
Marilyn Crispell photo by Maarit Kytöharju/imagekitchen.fi
Ernst Reijseger Ensemble photo by Laurence Donohue-Greene
Markku Peltola photo by Laurence Donohue-Greene
Nils Wogram photo by Laurence Donohue-Greene
Oddjob photo by Laurence Donohue-Greene
Mikko Helevä of the Stance Brothers photo by Laurence Donohue-Greene