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Jussi Reijonen — Three Seconds / Kolme Toista
(Challenge Records, 2022, CD / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2024-05-06

Three Seconds / Kolme Toista Cover art

Here at Exposé, we’ve covered a lot of music that comes from the rock world and leans into what might be considered modern chamber music. We sometimes call it “chamber rock.” Guitarist Jussi Reijonen’s Three Seconds / Kolme Toista makes a similar journey, only starting from jazz. The fact that he also plays oud adds another element to the mixture, and the result is a fascinating set of tunes. Reijonen is joined by Jason Palmer (trumpet, flugelhorn), Bulu Gulen (trombone), Layth Sidiq (violin), Naseem Altarash (cello), Utar Artun (piano), Kyle Miles (acoustic and electric bass), Keita Ogawa (percussion), and Vancil Cooper (drums). Reijonen’s life story has been an international journey, starting in a small town in northern Finland and including childhood spells in Jordan, Tanzania, Oman, and Lebanon, then time in Boston and New York as an adult. His international ensemble is well suited to the compositions, which bring together aspects of his life’s multi-cultural flow. The tracks featuring oud venture heavily into Middle Eastern sounds, especially in conjunction with Sidiq’s violin, though Reijonen’s arrangements always have a very modern sound that draws from both 20th Century classical music and jazz. You won’t hear any swing patterns on the drums or walking basslines, but as long as you’re not a strict traditionalist, you shouldn’t have trouble relating the music to jazz. All of the players acquit themselves admirably, and all of them get moments in the spotlight in addition to cooperative ensemble contributions. Three Seconds / Kolme Toista is a beautiful and emotional album, full of music like none I’ve heard before, and represents a supremely successful fusing of musical ideas from different cultures treated respectfully, not just as exotic flavoring.

Filed under: New releases, 2022 releases

Related artist(s): Jussi Reijonen

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