Juhani Aaltonen Quartet
A thousand tenorists grabbed their horn at the turn of the 50’s into 60’s inspired by Coltrane, but few absorbed the spiritual attitude that ultimately makes Trane’s music everlasting. Juhani Aaltonen belongs to that rare breed. Imitating no one, he has during five decades just dug deeper and deeper into the core of jazz. This quartet is a great tool in that task. It concentrates on the essential, as the aptly named Conclusions prove with its full and rich maturity.
Having a luxuriously mellow and soulful sound on his tenor, Junnu has always fought in the frontline of Finnish jazz, often with his close friends Otto Donner, Heikki Sarmanto and the late Edward Vesala, but also in the rockier Tasavallan Presidentti. His albums feature also quite a lot of his flute playing, and most of them, like Etiquette, Strings and Strings Revisited, are now classics.
The quartet’s rhythm is counted by Aaltonen’s old buddy Reiska Laine, another footstone of Finnish Jazz. The bass duties are handled by Uffe Krokfors, who is equally at home solo as in big orchestras, while the keyboards are played by Iro Haarla, a long time member of Vesala’s Sound & Fury. The Krokfors/Haarla couple are also excellent composers and work together in several different bands.