On the new album by the Aki Rissanen and Jussi Lehtonen Quartet with Dave Liebman, the past and the future are more closely intertwined than ever. So are the personal biographies of the artists: In 1972, for example, Liebman received a phone call from Miles Davis, inviting him to play on On the Corner. Many decades later, an account of that story inspired Jussi Lehtonen to write his own piece “In the Corner”, a monolithic tour de force filled with stylistic reminiscences.
Similar inspirations from the past, serendipity and complementary contrasts are at the heart of almost every piece here. Sessions for the new record commenced at the Finnish Broadcasting Company in April 2013. Instead of over-polishing their tunes, the performers opted for a fullon live-approach to bring out the mutual trust as well as the tight and flexible interplay within the constellation. Holding the stylistic contrasts provided by the players together is a pervasive mood of Finnish melancholy, particularly present on “Scriabin”, an homage to Russian composer Alexander Scriabin (1872-1915). These unexpected openings are what turn the album into a point of departure for new explorations. Which seems only apt. After uncovering the lines that bind their histories together, after all, the quartet are now free to take them wherever they want to.