June 17, 2024

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CD review: Sonny Rollins with Heikki Sarmanto Trio – Live at Finlandia Hall, Helsinki 1972 – 2023: Video, CD cover

Svart Records proudly presents Sonny Rollins with the Heikki Sarmanto trio, in an extremely rare live performance at Finland Festival in the summer of 1972.

Available for the first time, fifty years after it was initially recorded, this incredible show features Sarmanto on the Fender Rhodes electric piano, his brother Pekka Sarmanto on bass and Esko Rosnell on drums. Legend of American Jazz, “Saxophone Colossus” Sonny Rollins hand-picked Heikki Sarmanto and his Finnish trio for this night of improvisation and mutual respect that culminated in years of collaboration after.

The music conjured throughout this live extravaganza is everything a jazz aficionado could have hoped for, with extensive improvisations and incredible soloing by the musicians. Two standards and one original by Rollins, which last between sixteen and twenty-four minutes, illustrate both the quartet’s vibe and supreme virtuosity. Taking place at the magnificent Finlandia Hall, an architectural marvel, which was completed only a few months earlier, and recorded by the YLE (The Finnish Broadcasting Company), this legendary concert has been expertly mastered by Pauli Saastamoinen at the infamous Finnvox Studios in 2022 to perfectly highlight the magic that was in the air all those years ago.

Rollins seems to be especially in high spirits throughout the show and his powerful and expressive playing, full of humor, is simply marvelous. He even manages to quote some hints of Jean Sibelius’ “Finlandia” tone poem as a tribute to the venue.

A1 Spoken Introduction 1:21
A2 Night And Day 24:31
B1 My One And Only Love 17:46
C1 St. Thomas 17:11

Sonny Rollins tenor saxophone
Heikki Sarmanto keyboards Fender Rhodes
Pekka Sarmanto drums
Esko Rosnell bass

Sonny Rollins with Heikki Sarmanto Trio Live at Finlandia Hall, Helsinki 1972 2LP

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