Iiro Rantala / Ulf Wakenius
Playful and virtuous interaction between two Scandinavian stars
The burly Finn made the crowd go wild when he was in Molde for the first time with The Tango Kings. Since then, Iiro Rantala has visited the city several times and each time the audience have come out of the concert starry eyed. Now he travels around the world and plays solo, duo and with different bands. The Sibelius Academy-educated jazz pianist offers the audience something unique, where jazz is supplemented with European elements in an expression partly steamy like a Finnish sauna, partly bubbly like the water you lower your body into after you leave the sauna.
Oscar Peterson called Ulf Wakenius one of the world's premier guitarists when the Swedish played with the legendary pianist for a period of time. Wakenius performing as a Duo with Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen also illustrates what level he is at. In a review of Rantala / Wakenius's album "Good stuff" (Act), Bruce Collier writes in Beachcomber, "If the fact that these guys are both Scandinavian, you're expecting a depressing glass of sour aquavit, you're mistaken. Jazz from the Norsemen always surprises. Good Stuff is almost Christmassy in its good spirits. The 12 tracks reference and great cities-Berlin, Vienna, Helsinki, Milan, etc. Want to hear a lyrics-free cover of "What a Wonderful World"? Step right up. And Stevie Wonder surely must love the duo's "Sir Duke."
So its Christmas eve in July, then. This brilliant duo ends the festival's events at the intimate club Storyville. It will be one hell of a party.
Ulf Wakenius - guitar, Iiro Rantala, piano
STORYVILLE SATURDAY 21 JULY 10pm