Exposé Online banner

Teemu Viinikainen III — Return of Robert Dickson
(Eclipse Music , 2017, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2018-01-08

Return of Robert Dickson Cover art

Here’s another name for the list of great guitarists you’ve (probably) never heard of: Teemu Viinikainen. Return of Robert Dickson is apparently a follow-on to his 2005 release Tales of Robert Dickson, but having never heard that one, I can’t say exactly what that connection means. This is instrumental jazz of the highest order, with innovative, distinctive guitar playing, Rhodes and Moog from Mikael Myrskog, and outstanding drumming from Joonas Riippa. As with Dušan Jevtović’s recent No Answer, it’s a guitar-led trio without bass, tasking keyboards with holding down the low end of the frequency spectrum. They start with a brief introductory tune of echoed notes and spastic clicks from the drums, then dive into the first of many great tunes, “JS.” It’s got a funky, slinky bass riff on the Rhodes and Moog that Viinikainen joins for a bit before spinning off into an unpredictable melody and chords. He uses a semi-clean tone with just a hint of distortion, and has a lovely finger vibrato on sustained notes. There’s an interlude for an electric piano solo that shows why this instrument has staying power — that growly tone it gets is just so appealing. The Moog takes over on the bass line for a supremely unpredictable guitar solo, dextrous but not exactly flashy, full of octave phrases sprinkled among nifty runs and dissonant bursts. The next track is “Birdman,” which may be my favorite. It features a stuttery rhythm where the guitar and keyboards trade stabbing chords while the drums keep a quick tempo going. The tricky rhythm continues through a solo on the Rhodes that features both sophisticated extended harmonies and the occasional blues lick. Viinikainen’s solo takes flight over a funky bass line and a busy drum part. His lines feature the kind of harmonic sophistication that Allan Holdsworth was known for, though with a very different kind of tone and technique. Pieces like “Fine Again” and “Amoroso” dial back the rhythmic energy a bit, though maintain the same inventiveness. Start to finish, front to back, top to bottom, this trio is magical, highly recommended for anyone who likes jazz made with guts and imagination.


Filed under: New releases, 2017 releases

Related artist(s): Teemu Viinikainen

Latest news

2019-01-11
Jazz Composer Mark Lomax, II Releases Epic 12CD Set – In addition to being a fine jazz drummer, Dr. Mark Lomax, II is a composer in residence at Ohio State University, where he has been very busy on the compositional front. The year 2019 is the 400th anniversary of the arrival of the first ship bringing African slaves to North America, and in commemoration of this, Lomax has produced 400: An Afrikan Epic, a 12 volume set of CDs featuring a variety of different musical ensembles. » Read more

2019-01-02
Chicago-Based Surabhi Ensemble Tours the World in January – Surabhi Ensemble was formed more than a decade ago in Chicago with the aim of bringing together musicians from varying traditions to make music. Saraswathi Ranganathan, who plays veena, assembled a cast that includes Arabic oud, Spanish guitar, and percussion from Africa and India. This month, the group will be sharing their sounds with concert-goers in Southeast Asia, Europe, and Africa. » Read more

2018-12-23
Seaprog Festival Seeks Donations – Seaprog is a small festival in Seattle that highlights creative music from many genres with artists from around the world. It's also a US non-profit organization. They're seeking donations to help keep the ball rolling. Starting in 2013, the organization has been growing, and has featured such artists as Free Salamander Exhibit, Jack o' the Clock, Nik Turner, Cabezas de Cera, Miriodor, Thinking Plague, and many more. » Read more

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Lacrymosa - Joy of the Wrecked Ship – It’s been quite a long time since S. Chihiro (flip through an issue of Marquee, he's the one with the bass and the weird helmets) and company have released a full album – about ten...  (1994) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues