Lion Music
Release date: July 22, 2005

Recording Quality: B-
Originality: B
Overall Rating: B+

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Guitarist Jukka Tolonen is probably not a common household name for most. Learn to know him as Finland’s national guitar hero, who is equally proficient in Blues, Rock, and Jazz-Fusion. For the past four decades, he has played to captivated audiences throughout Scandinavia and Europe. This JTB release appears to be a Jazz-Fusion gem that is finally seeing the light of day on CD.

For some Metal Express readers, this might not be their “cup of tea.” If you’re a fan of Jazz-Rock-Fusion/Funk/instrumental guitarists like Jeff Beck, Al Di Meola, and Mike Sterns, who make full use of horns, synthesizers, etc., then read on, as you’re in for a treat. There’s also no doubting that this release puts the emphasis on the word “band” versus just “JT” in the acronym JTB.

The opening track, “Charterflight,” kicks things into high gear with some nice strumming, funky bass, and jazzy saxophone. The solos on this track start with a stirring saxophone solo before evolving into a “trading of licks” between Jukka and fellow guitarist, Coste Apetrea. Jukka’s playing here will remind the well-versed of Jeff Beck in his “Wired” days. Apetrea’s guitar tone, on the other hand, sounds slightly similar to Jan Hammer’s sound and feel. This is intense Jazz Fusion at it’s best!

The next track, “Space Cookie,” starts out with a nice acoustic, almost slightly flamenco, guitar solo and heads into another melodic saxophone solo. All of this is backed by a confident Jazz rhythm laid down on bass and drums. Midway through this track, Jukka unleashes what sounds like a phased guitar solo that will have Di Meola fans sitting straight up in their chairs with an ear to their speakers.

The third track, “Grand Hotel,” is probably the most funky track as it starts off with a nice funky beat, capped off by electrified guitar and saxophone solos.

One could go on and on about the finer moments of the remaining tracks, but now that you’ve read this far, then you’ve hopefully already considered purchasing this release. The remaining tracks all have their own masterful musical moments, and when assembled all together they make for a very strong Jazz-Rock album. The only complaint is the same tempo continues until reaching the closing bonus track, “Ide & Lärdoms+Lilla Lule Älv.” This is an early recording from 1977 that clocks in at 9+ minutes. This track starts out slow and sounds more experimental with some Eastern overtones and a “shouting-sax solo.” The track is in no way awful, it’s just somewhat out of place with the rest of the CD. But hey, a “bonus track” is always a welcome addition.

Overall this is one heck of a Jazz-Rock-Fusion/Funk release. Jukka Tolonen is indeed an accomplished Jazz guitarist, who also must be very humble and very secure based on his use of a second accomplished guitarist in Apetrea. No matter when this release was originally recorded, it still sounds just as fresh today as it must have when originally recorded. Bravo to Lion Music on getting this release to CD. As the music genre is slightly different from most of Lion’s catalog, all should hope Lion does some heavy marketing to get this album exposed to the fans that will appreciate it the most!


  • Scott Jeslis

    Scott is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He handles a lot of Metal Express Radio's public relations, screening of new music and radio scheduling. On occasion, he also does reviews and interviews. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2004.

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