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

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more

2019-01-31
Keyboardist Ingo Bischof R.I.P. – Keyboard player Ingo Bischof, best known as the longtime keyboard player of German band Kraan, passed away on January 29th, 2019. Bischof was born January 2, 1951 in Berlin-Kreuzberg and joined Kraan in 1975. » Read more

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


Previously in Exposé...

U.K. - Concert Classics Volume 4 – I was pleasantly surprised to find a copy of this live series disc at a local SF Bay area shop in the bin with the regular monthly releases. Considering that Volume 4 had supposedly been pulled by...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues