Aleksander Paal Quartet

19. April 2015
Sarah Hamid

Punane Maja, or Telliskivi’s Red House, was filling up slowly as the clock moved towards 19:00. In a renovated old warehouse building, with towering ceilings and a bohemian style café aligned with the stage and audience’s seats, winner of this year’s Young Jazz Talent prize Aleksander Paal and his skilled ensemble will perform. The four young instrumentalists met during their time at Tallinn Music School, after which all four have gained recognition for their skill on the local jazz scene. With a passion for creating innovative compositions, the award-winning saxophone player and his band proceeded to take the audience on a wild musical journey on that unpredictable sea of jazz.

From the moment the quartet took the stage, their energy and movement were projected onto the intrigued audience. Bobbing their heads and rocking as they played, the ensemble was so in sync in their movements as well of their music flowed as one. The smooth, lounge-style jazz that echoed through the hall was rich and diverse, Holger Marjamaa’s piano melodies ranging from eerie and melancholy to a swinging bluesy style that forced the audience to tap their feet. The pianist’s solos and Heikko Remmel’s somber mighty double bass pieces gave their own unique color to the performance, and alongside the sensual screaming soprano sax tunes from Aleksander Paal during the first half of the show, the artist made sure to physically step aside and give the stage over to his fellow talented musicians. In addition to the reverberating mellow role of the double bass and Holger Marjamaa’s nimble piano performance, Karl-Juhan Laanesaar’s role on the drums tied the quartet together with intricate rhythms that ranged from gentle to fierce in a matter of seconds.

Almost effortlessly playing off each other’s energy, the Aleksander Paal Quartet was as enthralling to watch as they were to listen to. The saxophone player moved with the tones of his instrument, as with every note projected his body followed in an intense winding motion. Watching his facial features wrench together as he focused on his musical expression added to the intensity of the act. The swinging quartet who were never for a moment still on stage performed in complex orders and patterns. In an interview with Aleksander Paal, he claims “When I compose or perceive music I always see it in numbers, permutations, sequences, and patterns.” Even for an individual who lacks the artist’s deep knowledge of jazz music it is clear that the quartet’s performance was delightful motley of overlapping patters, each instrument diverging and then coming together in a rich loop of spontaneous jazz.


Aleksander Paal Quartet

April 18th at 19:00 at Telliskivi Loomelinnak’s Punane Maja (Red House)

Aleksander Paal – Saxophone

Holger Marjamaa – Piano

Karl-Juhan Laanesaar – Drums

Heikko Remmel – Double Bass