Kari Ikonen Trio: mysterious and heartfelt jazz

22. October 2014
Giulia Oro & Pilarica Martin

Kari Ikonen Trio enthralled Tallinn citizens with a fusion of nordic and oriental jazz on Saturday, 11th October at Kumu Auditorium as part of Autumn Jazz Festival. The trio is led by Finnish jazz pianist Kari Ikonen with backing by Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari and Armenian bassplayer Ara Yaralyan.

Before starting to play, the lead man of the trio tried engaging the audience speaking the little Estonian he knows and turning the auditorium in a relaxed atmosphere. After some jokes, he introduced the band to start with a Gusan Ashot’s composition. At the beginning of this Armenian piece and, in order to make it more personal, Kari Ikonen showed his own style while playing the chords and strings of the piano, as an introduction for the bass and drum.  


The performance was a balance between improvisation and arrangements, especially during “Septentrional” and “Transoriental” compositions, where the instruments seemed to talk to each other. In addition, there was no pause between these two songs in order to make sure the connection stays between nordic and oriental melodies. As Kari Ikonen explained, this connection is like an ability of the music to reverse the world. 


The concert had tracks from their last album “Bright”, which is full of sensible pieces laced with folk elements that included traditional Armenian strains. The band finished the performance with a song from a soundtrack of a Bollywood film, a cover of Lata Mangeshkar. However, after the warming applause they returned on the stage to improvise in a pure jazz way.


The afterglow of the fresh and delicate nordic and Armenian improvisation closed the concert with a perfect balance between the doublebass playing with a bow and the beautiful pizzicato on piano. Furthermore, the tasteful pulse of Markku Ounaskari was shown by his ability of playing, in both soft and hard way, the beats, filling the songs with hops, skips and jumps.


Kari  Ikonen Trio

11th of October 2014 at Tallinn Kumu Auditorium


Kari Ikonen: piano

Ara Yaralyan: bass 

Markku Ounaskari: drums