Raoul Björkenheim, Solar Winds, Long Song Records

Björkenheim has always been a galaxy ahead. He has an incredible spirit that remains undimmed by age. He deploys a blitzkrieg of tactics in his preferred jazz-rock-free-jazz style and while...

Published: 18 Mar 2020. Updated: 12 days.

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Björkenheim has always been a galaxy ahead. He has an incredible spirit that remains undimmed by age. He deploys a blitzkrieg of tactics in his preferred jazz-rock-free-jazz style and while not microtonal in a David "Fuze" Fiuczynski sense shares some vocabulary and certainly heat with Fuze and deep down Hendrix as well. Probably Sonny Sharrock and Terje Rypdal are in there too in the labyrinth of his improvisations.

I enjoyed Solar Winds issued on Italian label Long Song. To be honest however the band with Björkenheim are not really up to giving the guitarist quite what he needs on this Coltrane tribute stocked with a few Björkenheim originals including the title track and plenty of Coltrane improvisations drawn from the more adventurous end of his canon. Emanuele Parrini on violin gives it a good go but needs more firepower although he inhabits the world of Leroy Jenkins on Swift Are The Winds Of Life. Silvia Bolognesi on bass and Tiziano Tononi on drums do what they can. Fair play to them. However you can't always climb Everest even if you really want to however you come equipped.

Highlight? Well the cover of 'Peace on Earth' from the posthumously released Concert in Japan is fabulous. Full marks for intent and execution. Actually it does not matter that the record only goes half way to heaven because Björkenheim still soars even when he needs some better reactions. And there is somehow a sincerity that transmits person to person in a very organic way that wins you over. If you share my feelings you'll want to make excuses for the bits you don't like. There aren't many. SG

Tags: 2020 best so far albums / tracksAlbum reviews