May 1999

Mika Pohjola

Finnish pianist Pohjola is ambitious. Announcement is his third release in as many years. He and his group-bassist Matt Penman, drummer/percussionist Roberto Dani, and soprano/tenor saxophonist Chris Cheek-can construct interesting narratives as they do on "Party," weaving familiar melodies into intricate poly-rhythms. Unfortunately, most of the nine arrangements (all creatively composed by Pohjola) never appear to escape the specter of stylistic sameness. The recurring, globally encompassing rhythms of "Announcement" and "Thinking, Wondering, Dreaming" swing with droning intensity. Restraint reigns throughout, and on some level that's virtuous. But sameness, well, that's another matter.

Originally published in May 1999
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