Fiasko Records

Esa Pietilä Trio Reviews

Finnish Music Quarterly
1/2008

As the title of saxophonist Esa Pietilä's (b.1964) fourth album suggests, Travel Of Fulica Atra is loosely themed around the coot (Fulica atra in Latin). A duck sized black bird found on lowland lakes and ponds that produces a variety of strange, squeaky and often funny sounds.

Those words could also be used to describe Pietilä's saxophone playing, although nothing about it is intentionally funny. Pietilä is obviously serious about his craft of freeform jazz, and together with bassist Uffe krokfors and drummer Markku Ounaskari, he has created an uncompromising set of mainly collectively improvised material.

Never one to blow his lungs out like Peter Brötzmann, but not one to hold back either, Pietilä has a peaceful, storyteller's approach to his music. He places great attention to creating musical sceneries that are essentially Scandinavian - and - Finnish by nature.

Over the three years [six years - ed.] that Pietilä, Krokfors and Ounaskari have worked together as a trio, their interaction has developed into something seamless. The trio's enjoyment of playing jazz oozes through and this album may well be their finest effort so far.