12 Points! may be a precocious child of only two, but already the festival of new European jazz has endeared itself to music devotees in Dublin, joining the dots to Europe’s other creative hubs, and carving out a niche as an indispensable showcase for exciting talent from across the union. THURS 6 MARCH 2008
From Vilnius Saga 4tet
Our first Lithuanian participants at 12 Points! are aptly named, for there is a bold sweep to the music of these four Vilnius musicians that begins with modest folk derived melodies, and opens up into some epic free blowing. Collectively, they represent a new generation of musicians in a country with a long and proud history of improvised music embodied by influential groups in the ’70s like The Ganelin Trio. These days Liudas Mockunas is Lithuania’s de facto jazz ambassador, a muscular tenor saxophonist with an original approach that exploits multiphonics and other expressive devices. An established figure of the Danish scene for some years, he’s back in his native city to steer a quartet that brings together bassist Vytis Nivinskas, drummer Marijus Aleksa and the up and coming pianist Dmitry Golovanov.
From Tallinn Kadri Voorand
Like its neighbours in the Baltics and Scandinavia, Estonia has a deep well of song tradition, and it has permeated down into Tallinn’s compact but increasingly dynamic jazz scene. Kadri Voorand is its latest emissary and follows in the footsteps of established Estonian artists like Hedvig Hanson. With a debut cd to come later in 08, 12 Points! will also be her debut performance away from home, but don’t expect the twenty one year old to be fazed. Talent will out, and there is plenty here, with a bright and lucid singing style, an appetite for vocalese and risk taking and a palpable confidence in the principles of swing, phrasing and intonation. She writes good songs too, and they’re performed in the company of pianist Jürmo Eespere, drummer Eno Kollom and bassist Mihkel Mälgand, who provide yet further insight into the emerging voices in Estonian jazz.
From Helsinki Oddarrang
There’s a familiar figure in the line up our Finnish visitors this year. Oddarrang is the vehicle for the wonderful compositional faculty of drummer Olavi Louhivuori, who’s also a member of Ilmiliekki, the quartet that won all before them at last years 12 Points! He formed this very personal project in 2003, and it’s been gathering serious momentum in Helsinki ever since, with a debut CD, Music Illustrated, that was Finland’s jazz album of the year for 2006. With its hybrid, almost muted instrumentation and songs with an undeniable lyricism, there is a sensation here of warmth emanating from the cold northern latitudes that’s irresistible. As is the norm in Finland these days, the musicianship is exceptional, and Louhivouri is joined by Ilmari Pohjola (trombone, voice), Osmo Ikonen (cello, voice), Lasse Sakara (guitar) and Lasse Lindgren (acoustic bass).