The bond between Scandinavian jazz and CAM JAZZ is becoming increasingly closer and stronger. The new work of Joona Toivanen Trio is an additional outcome of their common vision, which has given rise to a sizable number of remarkable projects and records. The Finnish pianist, still accompanied by Tapani Toivanen on double bass and Olavi Louhivuori on drums, composed an album that strikes a balance between the modern and the traditional, and between quiet, distinctively Nordic jazz moods and openness to new sounds and new expressive forms. This all is made even more intriguing by the outstanding empathy among the three musicians, who are able to cleverly back one another and, through refined mutual listening, reach a remarkable degree of interplay and responsiveness. Thus, each of them plays a leading role, in turn, and bears the responsibility for steering his band-mates towards new directions, new vibes, new melodic insight. The “liaison” between the Finnish trio and CAM JAZZ began in 2010, when the album At My Side was released. Of course, many things have happened from that time to this “November” release (including Joona Toivanen’s solo experiments and Olavi Louhivuori’s fruitful association with Claudio Filippini and Palle Danielsson), which this trio benefited from, as one realizes when listening to this new album. Eleven tunes, the authorship of which is equally shared between the bandleader and Louhivuori, also saving space for the title track by the double bass player. From the opening track “Moon Illusion” to the closing track “Open, Closed”, there is a quiet feeling in the air: time drawn out, a soft touch and sober, balanced arrangements. A journey in search of a clear, pure, crystalline sound. An elegant, refined tone. A thoughtful album, that never stops looking for new inspirations, between skillful song-making and moments of intriguing improvisation.
Recorded in Gothenburg on 21-23 February 2014 at Svenska Grammofonstudion - Recording engineer Oskar Lindberg
Mixed in Helsinki on 27, 28 February 2014 at Studio Kekkonen - Mixing engineer Mikko Raita
Cover photo by Andrea Boccalini
Liner notes by Brian Morton