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Ossi Maristo — Arc
(Eclipse Music ECD-2021143, 2021, CD / LP / DL)

by Jon Davis, Published 2023-03-11

Arc Cover art

After years making a name for himself in a metal band called For the Imperium (I’m relying on hearsay, of course — I’d never heard of the band before I got the album at hand), guitarist Ossi Maristo makes his solo debut with a set of tasty jazz fusion tunes on Arc. We are in obvious Allan Holdsworth territory here, with Maristo’s fluid playing frequently calling the master to mind. Perhaps surprisingly, it’s the jazzier side of Holdsworth’s playing here rather than the more rock-oriented material that serves as inspiration. The album starts with “The Hunt,” which is a fast-paced workout for Maristo and his team: Kasperi Kallio (piano, keyboards), Tapio Backlund (bass), and Jonne Taavitsainen (drums). This track has a lot going for it, with a breakneck tempo, sophisticated chord voicings, dextrous melodic lines, and a super-tight rhythm section. “Supernovae” maintains the energy level with a cleaner tone on the guitar and some sweet electric piano backing with busy-funky drumming. The remaining four tracks dial back the intensity somewhat while continuing the high quality. “Remembrance” is a meditative piece with acoustic piano; “Vincent” features a dreamy electric piano, a poignant melody on lap steel, and subtle rhythms; and “Travelmates” finishes off with some great interplay between guitar and piano that’s a little reminiscent of Metheny and Mays. To my ear, Arc rises above its obvious Holdsworth influence to present a highly enjoyable set of contemporary jazz.

Filed under: New releases, 2021 releases

Related artist(s): Ossi Maristo

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