What I’m Listening To – Part 4 – Pekka Pohjola
I’m back again for another edition in this series. This time we go to Finland, the place where I’m from, and the artist I’m going to talk about is Pekka Pohjola (1952-2008). He was a bass player, band leader, and composer. He was a brilliant bassist. Frank Zappa once asked Pohjola to join his band. Pohjola declined the offer.
The main reason I like Pohjola is not his bass playing though, great as it is. What made him really special was his song writing. I think it’s a downright crime he’s not better known. He wrote music that was funny, beautiful, harmonically challenging, technically challenging, quirky, entertaining, but never easy. Rather than ramble on about him, I ask that you listen to the songs I’ve posted below. I’ll include short descriptions of the songs, along with my thoughts. Do give this music time. It might not be instantly accessible.
This is one of Pohjola’s more funny songs. The melody in this one is a bit nutty.
An older, more funky, fusion type thing. There’s some very nice playing on this one.
One of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever heard. The change from a minor tonality to major over the sus4 chord really works. This is a song that is in no hurry. Absolutely great. There is also a longer version of this, which is called just “Benjamin”, which isn’t an introduction.
A slightly more recent one. I love how the bass stays on one note while the chords change, after 2:18.
A rare one in that it has vocals. The singer is Kassu Halonen and he has a bit of a challenging melody to sing.
That’s all for this time. I hope you enjoyed Pohjola’s music, and this post.
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