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Mirror Mirror

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Format: LP

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$39.99

Availability: In stock

Mirror Mirror is the new album by the Finnish jazz legend, pianist/composer Olli Ahvenlahti. Championed by the likes of Gilles Peterson and Kenny Dope, Ahvenlahti is a master of hard-grooving jazz funk. Here, he continues the evolution of his style, much-beloved since the legendary 1970s albums such as The Poet and Countenance. Ahvenlahti’s new group highlights some of the best talent on the Finnish scene, including trumpeter Jukka Eskola, saxophonist Joonatan Rautio, bassist Ville Herrala and drummer Jaska Lukkarinen. “I’m always striving to make one more great record,” Ahvenlahti says. “I’m 75 years old this year and as the years pass, this goal seems all the more concrete. Thus, Mirror Mirror feels a bit like ‘now or never’, an album that reflects all of my career and searches for something new at the same time.” For fans of the classic Fender Rhodes-driven Ahvenlahti jazz funk sound, Mirror Mirror is manna from heaven. Earlier performances of the current group were billed as “The Poet II,” which speaks of Ahvenlahti’s desire to continue on the lineage of his classic ’70s period, while adding new layers and hues into his signature sound. The present album is a further continuation of the idea, the next step for the band tried and tested on such sought-after performance spots as Helsinki’s Flow Festival, Odysseus Festival, and Pori Jazz. Mirror Mirror is a well-balanced affair for Ahvenlahti and group, showcasing both their hard-driving funky edge and Ahvenlahti’s knack at composing effortless and melodic “slow music,” which strolls along at its own pace. The singles “Paint It Blue” and “Rhythm and Rhymes” drive the groove hard, with each band member bringing their soul into it, while especially on the album’s last two selections, an honest form of serenity reigns supreme. Perhaps “honesty” is the key here. At 75, there is no extra effort to gain recognition or short-term goals with Olli Ahvenlahti. This is “simply” beautiful new work from a seasoned artist and a scene legend, whose wisdom extends beyond mere composition and performance into the social workings of a jazz quintet. He knows how to make music where everyone can bring in their core musicianship and also be challenged to top what they knew before getting in. RIYL: Olli Ahvenlahti, The Poet and Bandstand, classic jazz funk à la Bob James, Herbie Hancock, Patrice Rushen, and Mizell Brothers productions.

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