Live in Helsinki
Klaus Suonsaari is a Finnish drummer and composer with a strong grounding in many styles, from bop to orchestral to free jazz. On Live in Helsinki, a stunning set pristinely recorded by the Finnish Broadcasting Company, he leads his trio through a broad range of sounds, with emphasis on high-energy exploration. There are stretches of controlled minimalism, studied abstraction and even catchy melody, but Suonsaari, saxophonist Scott Robinson and bassist Julian Thayer maintain a vigorous sense of adventure throughout.
Live in Helsinki opens with the timid first few bars of "Folk Song," but soon the trio is out exploring: Robinson with long moans, Thayer with low strokes and Suonsaari with forceful snare-slaps. "He Could Stop the World" traces a dramatic ascension propelled by Suonsaari's heavy beat, while "Yana" gathers small emanations, and the humorously hectic "One, Two, 1-2-3-4" evokes the circuslike artistry of Hal Russell. The trio's bounding energy is always tempered by thoughtfully timed restraint, and Live in Helsinki suffers from almost no missteps or unengaging passages. It's a compelling ride.