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Teemu Viinikainen: Tales of Robert Dickinson

In his debut as a leader, Finnish guitarist Teemu Viinikainen and his regular trio of Timo Hirvonen on electric bass and Jussi Lehtonen on drums encounter American trumpeter Tim Hagans for a session of adventurous originals and freewheeling group-improv numbers. Viinikainen, a prominent figure on Helsinki’s jazz scene as a member of the U-Street All Stars, is a fearless improviser and fluent player who uses guitar effects creatively, as he demonstrates throughout the daring, three-part “Sneaking” suite and also on Hagans’ darkly angular “Space Dozen.”

Viinikainen teams well with Hagans on the frontline, engaging in some sparkling exchanges on “Two Grooves.” The guitarist and trumpeter offer some of the most affecting moments here on two intimate “Duo Improvisation” pieces. Viinikainen also showcases some nifty fingerstyle playing on a haunting Delta-flavored solo-acoustic number, “The Blues.” An open-minded, technically proficient player, Viinikainen makes a strong first statement with this CD.

Originally Published