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Hit Couleurs JAZZ

A tireless explorer of the many facets of jazz, Iiro Rantala has taken his piano from solo to big band.

Here, he returns to the piano/bass/drums trio format he hasn’t used in ages. Here we find his unostentatiously virtuosic piano, his unshakeable rhythmic foundation in the left hand and his crystalline touch in the right.

Accompanied by British bassist Conor Chaplin and Scandinavian drummer Anton Eger, Rantala offers ten catchy, personal compositions. An eleventh theme, by Jaco Pastorius and featuring Danish harmonica player Mathias Heise, closes the repertoire.

The music is constantly lilting, distilling a joy of playing that almost makes you think these musicians were born under more clement skies than those on the shores of the Baltic and the North Sea. This is because Rantala is a lover of melodies with heady harmonies (“Stockholm Syndrome“, “A Lotta Love“…) and upbeat rhythms (“Tough Stuff“, “Country and Eastern“…), where his taste for lively tempos, with their wonderfully alert phrasing, can be expressed without restraint.

In keeping with the timeless aesthetic of a jazz that expresses the pleasure of playing in interaction rather than intellectual research or a preoccupation with modernity at all costs, this new opus by the Finnish pianist is the latest addition to an abundant discography that leaves us smiling. It has to be said that he is surrounded by musicians who share his concern to please without going so far as to slip into racy clichés. The double bass is constantly tonic in its support and melodic in its solos, and the drums punctuate the whole with a radiant polyrhythm.

As for the harmonica, it punctuates this recital with its luminous timbre, like the cherry on top of a delicious cake. A CD that will appeal to a wide audience, including jazz neophytes.

line Up:

IIro Rantala: piano

Conor Chaplin: double bass

Anton Eger: drums

Mathias Heise: harmonica

Tough Stuff is a Hit Couleurs Jazz. It is among the “Best of the Month“. It was released by Act Label on June 1st, 2024

©Photo Header by Steven Haberland


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