Room for Improvisation

26. April 2019
Lennart Richter

The trio around Estonian pianist and composer Joel Remmel entered the atmospherically lit stage at prime time on a Thursday night at Punane Maja concert hall. Seats were almost all occupied so that even the rear side of the hall was packed with standing listeners.


After a couple of welcoming words the band started out as a trio, presenting material taken from their most recent album Sharp (2019). Tunes like Welcome To Stay started with a calm and quiet piano melody before slowly but steadily building up into a more busy but well controlled climax, just to return the attention onto the piano. Others like Sharp left a lot of room for improvisation so that each individual player was able to show off their admirable skills. Ramuel Tafenau’s sensitive brush playing emphasized his empathetic style of paying the drums, while Heikko Remmel amazed with moaning melodies on double bass. All players shone through their high level of creative soloing ideas, impeccable timing, technical brilliance and musical interaction.


After the Finnish saxophonist and special guest Joonatan Rautio joined the band things got a little straighter forward with the swing piece Teisipäev (Tuesday in English) and Unique Am Glory which featured Latin rhythms. Rautio did not fall short of exhibiting excellent skills and creative solo ideas to an amazed audience. Nonetheless, he always stayed well within the context of a musical conversation with his fellow players.


The band delivered a smooth and energetic performance that left an impression of concentrated work and joyful onstage interaction. The audience rewarded the instrumentalist with big rounds of applause in between tunes, but also after each of the many solo spots. The concert ended with a strong encore which again provided many opportunities for each player to shine and concluded with a fulminate drum solo by Tafenau. It is a phenomenal band and a worthwhile concert with many highlights.


Joel Remmel Trio (EST)

Thursday, April 25, 20:00, Punane Maja



Joel Remmel – piano

Heikko Remmel – double bass

Ramuel Tafenau – drums


Special Guest:

Joonatan Rautio – saxophone


See photos from concert here.