Black Motor

The roots of Black Motor lie deep in Tampere, even though they hail from Pori, Kangasala, a small rural municipality, and Jyvaskyla. Although Sami Sippola, Ville Rauhala, and Simo Laihonen, the saxophonist, bassist, and drummer, could have met elsewhere, the friendly, open-minded, and brotherly atmosphere of Tampere made it the ideal place to start a band. A new band was inevitable after each member made their first tentative steps on the scene. After making their mark with many line-ups, both permanent and transient, they felt it was time to start something new. Although the framework was inspired by the rootsy, soulful jazz of John Coltrane and Albert Ayler, the approach and method were derived from punk rock. The momentum began to build after the May 2005 performance of Black Motor. It took just two years for two albums to be released. Black Motor and On Duty were released in 2007. They are a gem in the rough. The group was full of potential and bravado. There were more albums and performances with other exciting guests, and media began to notice, first locally and then internationally. All About Jazz reviewed a 2009 Tampere Jazz Happening concert and noted that the backseat was particularly interesting. “Laihonen placed a Milford Graves-like and Hamid Drake-like polyrhythmic performance underneath the two-horn frontline.” Black Motor had four albums at this point. In 2008, Club El Toro’s Vaarat vastukset was released and word spread like wildfire. The hardworking trio of jazz musicians was gaining popularity thanks to well-received gigs in which Sippola, Rauhala and Laihonen were joined by top improvisers like Jukka Orma (guitar master) and Jorma Taplio (woodwindsman). Black Motor’s fifth album, which featured a riveting show, saw the start of gigs overseas. In 2010, Never Out of Fashion – Live in Amsterdam was released, paving the way to a breakthrough. Black Motor’s raunchy and free-spirited outlook was welcome in a jazz scene that was heavily influenced by recycled hard beat and somewhat stale, soul jazz. All About Jazz once called Black Motor “grunge-like” in name, music, and persona. It was Finland’s most talked-about improvising group. Hoojaa was the point of no return in 2011. Black Motor’s other discs have mainly focused on the band performing live, but the sixth album was more detailed. This was Black Motor distilled into timeless music, based exclusively on Kusti’s compositions. It was no surprise that Hoojaa was selected for the Jazz-Emma, i.e. The Finnish equivalent to the Jazz Grammy. Next year’s output was two more albums. Jumehniemi, a slow-paced trio effort, and Rubidium, a more focused set featuring trumpeter Verneri Puhjola. Positive reviews were already commonplace in Finland’s largest daily newspapers Helsingin Sanomat, Aamulehti, and the leading Finnish rock magazine Soundi. The juggernaut continued. As the list of live guests had grown to include Iro Haarla (piano/harpist), Raoul Bjorkenheim (guitarist), and Jone Takamaki (reedsman), Black Motor increased the ante when they announced that Peter Brotzmann, the legendary saxophonist, would join them at Club Telakka, Tampere. In a subsequent interview with Soundi magazine, Brotzmann said that Black Motor “sound refreshingly hardy and gruff”. The band was also able to perform with Samuli Mikkonen, a pianist and composer, and the highly acclaimed saxophonists Mikko Innanen and Juhani Aaltonen. The band made a memorable appearance at the London Jazz Festival to cap off a successful year. When Down Beat reviewed the trio at the Tampere jazz happening in November 2012, Down Beat noted that Finland is full of new, important, and exciting sounds. To take matters even further, Sami Sippola, Ville Rauhala and Simo Laihonen will showcase a new approach with meditative ballad album Yosta aamun kynnykselle, released in October 2013. from

Leave a Comment