Finland's TUM Records, both on disc and live at their annual Helsinki TUMfest, has been allowing musicians to explore their inner capabilities, expressions and dreams that may or may not be commercial enough to actually sell. The latest such offering, 'Celestial Weather,' features two such progressive, forward-thinking adventurers, John Lindberg on double-bass and Wadada Leo Smith on trumpet. It's an example of exotica, esoterica even.
Saxophonist and flutist Juhani "Junnu" Aaltonen, 80, is one of Finland's most respected improvisers. He's led trios and quartets but this is his first duo. Pianist and harpist Iro Haarla, 59, has performed her original music in solo, duo, quintet, sextet and big band settings. Their first record together, 'Kirkastus' (TUM Records), features her music but it's his personality that comes shining through.
As the follow-up to their TUM Records 'Triologia' debut, 'Oh, La Vie!' continues the Olavi Trio's freeform experimentation in spontaneous combustion, or in this case, composition. This freedom from chords, charts and time signatures results in a totally radical kind of improvisation that challenges all the assumptions one has when it comes to serious music. When these musicians create in the now, their own preconceptions are called into question.
As with most totally improvised sets shorn of all charts or concepts wherein the musicians just play freely, 'Tales Of The Unforseen' (TUM Records out of Finland) by Barry Altschul's 3Dom Factor is a wildly eclectic project wherein all three musicians -- drummer/percussionist Altschul, tenor, soprano and sopranino saxophonist/flautist Jon Irabagon and double bassist Joe Fonda -- share equally in the CD's unforeseen adventure.