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3+1=Kasperi Sarikoski

This Friday, October 23rd, Finnish trombonist and composer, Kasperi Sarikoski, will release his sophomore effort as a band leader on his new album 3 + 1. Released via Outside in Music, the album is a perfect soundtrack to these strange days. It is nostalgic, wistful, lonesome, and hopeful in its tone. The album cover even seems to be a throwback to the classic artwork often seen on Blue Note Records by Reid Miles. It was done by the talented Jamie Breiwick at B Side Graphics.

The new album features a unique instrumentation of trombone, bass, and drums with the addition of a comping instrument, piano, on only one track. Hence the name of the album 3 + 1. All original compositions by Sarikoski, take influence from contemporary jazz records of the 21st century.  3 + 1 features Sarikoski on trombone alongside Chilean bassist Simón Willson and Italian drummer Francesco Ciniglio.  For the album’s fifth track, the ensemble is joined by pianist Christian Li.

The three musicians first played together at Smalls Jazz Club as part of Francesco’s ensemble.  Sarikoski had met guest pianist Christian Li far before his arrival in New York, at the 2011 International Association of Schools for Jazz Conference. Sarikoski remarks, “All these three are inspiring, first class musicians and I’m very pleased to have them on the album.”

Sarikoski had wanted to perform with a trio of this nature for years. He notes “Being a sole horn player without the backup of a pianist or guitarist brings a lot of responsibility and challenges one to find ways to keep the listener captivated from track to track.” 

The album opens, no pun intended, with “The Opening”.  The album continues with “Great Lawn Oval”, a contemporary piece with an odd time meter and a slightly folkish melody.  Sarikoski outlines harmonic progressions through soulfully melodic lines, reminiscent of Ornette Coleman’s philosophy of harmolodics.  The melody for this song was written by the baseball fields in Central Park.  All of the compositions were written in New York City, and many of them have been influenced by local places or situations.

The fourth and one of my favorite songs on the album is, "Slow Morning Coffee." It takes me back to snow filled Manhattan mornings. “Onward and Upward” prominently features pianist Chrisian Li.  A dramatic and somewhat moody shift half-way through the album. Keeping the mood somewhat lonesome and wistful is “Leonard Street.” It was composed by Sarikoski while spending Christmas by himself in Tribeca.

The album comes to sweet end with, "Such Sweet Sorrow,” a quote from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It reflects on saying goodbye with a mix of sweetness and sadness. A perfect ending to an album that invokes sentimentality in the most bittersweet way.

3 + 1 is a great jazz album to be the soundtrack to your fall/winter months. Be sure to check it out this Friday on all streaming platforms!

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