Finnish vibraphone virtuoso Severi Pyysalo with elctric bass player Timo Hirvonen and drummer Jussi Lehtonen.
If playing the vibes was easy, there would be a lot of great vibes players on the planet. The small number of excellent improvising vibraphonists is evidence of just how difficult it is. At the top of that very short list is Severi Pyysalo. As a vibes player myself, I have always been excited to hear someone who could REALLY make music on this cold awkward instrument, but never more so than when I heard Severi for the first time. That experience came in the form of two duet CDs – ”Aviaja” (w/ Anders Jormin) and ”Turn Out The Stars” (w/ Thomas Clausen). These are two very different projects, but both showcase a vibist with complete mastery, not only of his instrument, but of the art of improvising. Since then I have acquired as many of his recordings as I can (whether as a leader or sideman), and though they are all different, Severi’s taste, sense of clarity and unique musical personality always shine through. Which brings me to this new trio recording. I won’t say too much because art is always subjective and the journey is yours. But I will say that I have a big smile on my face after listening to this group! His cohorts are fabulous musicians who navigate this diverse repertoire with great energy, subtlety and humor. They are great partners for Severi himself, who’s never sounded better. I wish this trio great success – for their sake, of course. But also because I, quite selfishly, would like to see them performing in my neck of the woods soon. The sooner the better!
Joe Locke New York City July, 2011