Mika Pohjola: Blues Chacarera


Blues Chacarera


Mika Pohjola (piano)


Northern Sunrise (BlueMusicGroup BMG5966)

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Mika Pohjola (piano), Steve Wilson (soprano sax), Ben Monder (guitar), Massimo Biolcati (bass), Mark Ferber (drums), Franco Pinna (bombo).

Composed by Mika Pohjola


Recorded: New York, 2009


Rating: 95/100 (learn more)

In our constantly evolving musical syntax the phrase “global jazz” is showing up with increasing frequency. Usually the term’s connotation is simply geographic, as in “jazz from around the globe;” but, with the help of artists like Mika Pohjola, it is evolving to have a deeper cultural significance. The young Finnish pianist and composer is one of those artists who would make the universal language of jazz the lingua franca of this bold new age. His Northern Sunrise offers a smorgasbord of subliminal connectivity that reaches across and a bit under the surface of the planet.

On “Blues Chacarera,” Pohjola takes us down Argentine way, with a lively blues waltz enhanced by the bomba, a traditional folk drum made from a hollow tree and covered in goatskin. After serving up an enticing head in measures of alternate time, the solo sections straighten out, cooking in 6/8 while Pohjola engages in an intricate ivory ballet, dancing effortlessly through the changes. Guitarist Ben Monder follows with a solid chorus.

Harmonically, this outing is not exactly groundbreaking; neither is the overall concept, offering jazz as a musical Rosetta Stone in the attempt to forge a new “homogenous state of the arts.” But, for those jaded 21st century ears still receptive to a bit of foreign intrigue, this just may be your ticket.

Reviewer: Bill Barnes


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