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Juhani Aaltonen, Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille: Reflections

Innanen has an excellent homegrown role model in Juhani Aaltonen, the veteran Finnish tenor sax and flute player. Aaltonen is perhaps best known for his association with percussionist Edward Vesala as well as with bassist Arild Andersen. For Reflections (Tum), he’s joined by an elite rhythm section comprised of bassist Reggie Workman and drummer Andrew Cyrille. Aaltonen plays with an elegant passion on the album-opener, an improvised ballad called “Serenity.” His tenor sound is dark and even, his ideas as eloquent as they are unconstrained. He’s just as effective on uptempo tunes like “Effervesce.” He thinks every bit as fast as he can move his fingers. Among contemporary bassists, Workman is too often overlooked, especially as a free player. He supports unselfishly yet doesn’t forfeit the right to make powerful melodic statements. Cyrille is proof positive that swing need not be a superfluous quality in the realm of free improvisation. He’s a great textural player, but more than that, he plays with a great jazz feel, even in the free-est situation. All these guys are pushing 70, yet you’d be hard put to find a more energetic, visionary group.

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