Orrenmaa Band - Make My Day

13 songs
63:59 minutes
***** ***
Presence / Nordic Notes


Fusion jazz is a genre I would normally not expect to come from arctic Finland. Guitarist Tuppu Orrenmaa must have decided to hit it really big on his third album with his Orrenmaa Band, hiring a genuine who-is-who of the international jazz scene. All drums on Make My Day were played by the legendary Billy Cobham, who should be known even to novices for his collaborations with artists like Miles Davis and Mahavishnu Orchestra. The horns section of Tower Of Power, another American collective of artists with cult status, can be heard on six songs. This is also the first time they can be heard together with Billy Cobham on a record. The bass guitar was in charge of Pekka Pohjola, originally member of the best Finnish prog rock band ever: Wigwam. This is also the last album he ever recorded as he passed away much too young in late 2008.

With so many illustrious guests on board, you may wonder if Mr Orrenmaa is still able to set accents. It’s hard to say for someone only marginally familiar with the fusion jazz scene, but his guitar playing is of course beyond a doubt. Filling his songs with warm, mellifluous guitar melodies, he transports the listener into a time when music was still years ahead of the digital age. The star studded rhythm section is of course the icing on the cake, but also keyboarders Pekka Tyni and Timo Pratskin offer wonderful retro fuelled keyboard sounds. Trumpetist Verneri Pohjola has of course a hard time making an impression whenever the Tower Of Power people start blowing, but he nonetheless shows on the remaining tracks that he’s also an inspired musician.

Make My Day starts splendidly with four tracks that feature the Tower Of Power members, making a perfect entry into the CD. From there onwards, it all becomes more a Tuppu Orrenmaa affair, still far above average, if no longer brilliant. Billy Cobham trumps with the seven and a half minute long drum solo Helsinki Floating. All in all, this is a very vintage sounding album, certainly not overly original, but done with so much conviction that the heart of every self-respecting fusion fan should beat faster!

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