Jukka Tolonen — The Hook
(Love Records LRCD 113, 1974/2004, CD)
Jukka Tolonen — Hysterica
(Love Records LRCD 149, 1975/2004, CD)
by Steve Robey, Published 1997-02-01
Tolonen is a Finnish guitarist who spent the early 70s toiling with the progressive band Tasavallan Presidenti. After leaving that band, he put out a series of obscure but very worthwhile solo albums. The Hook and Hysterica are his third and fourth, and are available now as a twofer on this exciting new CD.
Musically, Jukka Tolonen occupies much of the same territory as the likes of Jeff Beck, with funky instrumentals supported by beautiful guitar work. However, these two albums immediately grabbed me by going several steps beyond the typical fusion-instrumental format. Each song employs a surprise or two: a head-turning sax or flute solo, an eye-widening guitar freakout, or some other unconventional performance. My first impression leads me to make comparisons to the Danish band Secret Oyster. That is the only other band that I have heard that puts so much creativity and introspectiveness into the potentially sterile domain of fusion music.
From start to finish, these two albums have a lot of heart, and they'll grow on you. I can't single out any single track, since each is unique in its own way, and each is somehow great. The re-release of these two albums from the mid-70s is the uncovering of a lost treasure. Dig in and dig it.
[The 2-on-1 reviewed here has since been superceded by individual reissues of the two albums. - ed.]
Larry Coryell RIP – One of the greats of jazz guitar has left us at the age of 73. Larry Coryell was one of the founding figures of jazz fusion, but produced a significant body of work the bridged many styles. His group Eleventh House provided a unique take on the combination of jazz and rock that was distinct from contemporaries such as Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return to Forever, and Weather Report. » Read more
John Wetton RIP – After a long battle with colon cancer, singer and bassist John Wetton has died at the age of 67. As an integral member of such bands as King Crimson, UK, and Asia, his was one of the distinctive voices in progressive rock, lending a human touch to often difficult music. » Read more
Seaprog Announces First Artists for 2017 – The organizers of the Seaprog Festival in Seattle have announced the first set of confirmed performers for the 2017 festival. The best known names are Cabezas de Cera and Jack o' the Clock, but a host of other bands are featured, mostly from the Northwest. The festival will take place June 2-4, 2017. » Read more
Acoustic Festival of Britain 2017 Announces Eclectic Lineup – The Acoustic Festival of Britain has been going since 2006, and this year's event sees a number of outstanding artists on the bill. Fairport Convention, Tir na nOg, and Martin Turner are some of the artists we've covered, and there are many more, including The Men They Couldn't Hang, Howard Jones, Chantel McGregor, and many more. The festival runs June 2-4, 2017 at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. » Read more