The young Finnish band Mist Season have in my opinion created a masterpiece with their second CD Woodlands. It is not prog or rock, but instrumental jazz and fusion, with a lot of diversity that I never believed was possible to invent. It’s swings from the start until the end, lasting more than seventy minutes. I am overwhelmed by the skills of this band. A good example of the rich blend of this CD is the first track Far Away From Home, a jumpy song with nice trumpet (Jukka Pitkänen) and piano solo (Timo Kajamies), bringing me directly in a very good mood. In the middle there is a jazzy guitar solo (Tommy Varjola). Ending with the happy trumpet-theme. The first part of the four pieces of the composition Cartway Across The Branches begins slowly with a piano (Joe Jackson style), further on developing into a beautiful rhythm, you can whistle the theme very easy. Daylite Sprite is more in the style of Brand X or Wheather Report. A song with no dull moment and many well played instruments. Another musical surprise is Dance of the Mistress. A Celtic Folk song with an accordion (Vela Mattti Järvenpää) and some heavy guitar riffs. A little bit of Clannad and Dubliners mixed with the prog of Red Jasper. A Camel esque flute introduces The Six Spruce. Soon followed by piano, trumpets and the drums. Towards the end there is a kind of duel between the saxophone (Kari Rantakallio) and a synthesizer. Flowers of Asia is a romantic song with its flute and trumpet. In the middle you can hear a sitar, bass, trumpets and flugelhorn in a kind of mix which reminded me of the film music of famous American Chuck Mangioni. Another optimistic and happy tune is track 8 Dawn. Ideal for a sports program for your TV.
Cartway part III has a bluesy and moody guitar solo in the beginning with a nice central theme in the middle.
Woodpecker the Mocker is another funny tune. It could be played by the one and only famous Belgian mouth organ artist Toots Tielemans. Skyward Leafage is another highlight of this CD. With its flute, saxophone and guitar solo’s it is romantic and Camelesque. In Garden of Beruwela you hear unexpectedly the Indian tabla played by guest musician Rafael Tajada and lots of improvised jazzy guitar, trumpet and piano solo’s.
Last and longest song of this CD, almost 10 minutes long, Tears of Woodland begins with a ‘dramatic’ piano intro. Followed by an acoustic (Spanish?) guitar solo lasting several minutes played by Kejo Hakala is the excellent apotheosis of a brilliant CD. Every member of the band does a nice solo, a perfect ending of magical music.
I have to admit this is certainly one of the highlights of my jazz collection. There is such a variety in songs and they are so beautifully arranged and played by the young guys of Mist Season. So if you want something special, buy this CD, you will not be disappointed. And if the guys ever come to the Netherlands I certainly will visit their show.
***** Cor Smeets (edited by Melody Oakley)
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