WARNING: This album will spellbind from its first note and induces a feeling of well-being that is liable to spread smiles and relaxed expressions on the faces of listeners.
This is the second time I have reviewed an album by this prolific Finish pianist and it won’t be the last. On this occasion Rantala has chosen to dedicate his very considerable talents to interpretations of ragtime, honky tonk and some of Leonard Bernstein’s iconic pieces, and in addition he managed to sneak in some tracks from the aforementioned Anyone With A Heart album from 2014.
While the intoxicating mix of playful ivory tinkling has a strong flavour of early 20th century Americana, it is spiced with healthy doses of classical, folk, blues and modern jazz styles All presented in a whimsical and engaging fashion. Rantala uses drops hints and homages to tunes and styles by evoking the styles once used by iconic pianists from Scott Joplin to Oscar Peterson.
ACT music has released a great deal of albums that highlight the amazing talent of many European jazz musicians, this album is no exception, it is a musical tour de force that should find a home in the collection of anyone who ever claimed to like jazz piano.
Having just praised the good folks at ACT Music… the download of the album received for the review is nowhere near the very high standards and qualities of ACT Music recordings. It is likely that the CD of this album will offer a far more pleasurable euphonic experience as this is a sensational album from start to finish, Iiro Rantala’s ability to create magic with piano keys is truly remarkable.
Best track: Can you be Bob