A couple of surprising music nights at Tampere Jazz Happening

Kuvat: Alejandro Lorenzo

Jazz is about anything. It is very difficult to define. This is my fifth year in a row at Tampere Jazz Happening, and surprises haven’t stop yet. For good and otherwise 😉

Friday was, in a way, an easy night. Edmar Castañeda proved to be an impossible soloist, playing with the harp in ways I haven’t imagined before, and it was wonderful. He got the public in his pocket and yet, a trombone solo from his partner Marshal Gilkes managed to steal the show in the last minute.

Then I had my hopes on Seppo Kantonen, who I have heard and loved it at UMO. But his concert felt easy, lacked of risk. It didn’t feel special and on the top of that I really disliked the vocalist.

Medeski, Martin and Wood was an easy choice for me. Funk, psychedelic rock, a Hammond organ… it’s the seventies and they delivered. The level of impro and technique didn’t kill the level of rhythm and energy. All the opposite, they made everything bigger and better and their level of passion and sweating on stage just crowned visually what you could feel on the soundwaves.

Bassekou Kouyaté & Ngoni Ba was a nice ending for the night; a talented family of musicians who brought together tradition and electricity. Unlike MM&W, they didn’t impro so much, it was all under control for the sake of entertainment. While the previous live and perform in their own world (which just happens to be on stage), Bassekou and company live for the public. That made them a good choice for ending the party.

On Saturday, though, it was more about free jazz. While I felt connected with the balance of chaos and order of Björkenheim, Ågren and Gustafsson, I couldn’t deal with Tim Berne Snakeoil.

Finally Manu Katche 4tet, Manu being a wise man, had mercy on us and avoided extremism. They gave us rhythmical complexity yet smoothly enough, pampering us for a good night or better still, party ongoing if we where to continue with The Hot 8 Brass Band. Good times!

So that’s it, you’ll never know about jazz until you try, and five festivals aren’t enough trying yet.

Check out more info about those and all the artists from Tampere Jazz Happening at

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