Release date: 1 May 2020
Credits and About
Verneri Pohjola Trumpet
Tuomo Prättälä Piano & Electronics
Antti Lötjönen Double Bass
Mika Kallio Drums & Gongs
Pauli Lyytinen Soprano Saxophone & Tenor Saxophone (on ‘Wilder Brother’ and ‘Suspended’)
Miikka Paatelainen Pedal Steel (on ‘Monograph’, ‘The Dead Don’t Dream’ and ‘Suspended’)
Recorded by Mikko Raita at Kallio Kuninkala between the 3rd & 5th September, 2019
Mixed by Mikko Raita at Studio Kekkonen in October 2019
Mastered by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers 22nd November 2019
Verneri Pohjola plays Van Laar instruments
Mika Kallio plays Paiste cymbals and gongs
Antti Lötjönen uses Sandhill microphones
Cover photo by Perttu Saksa
Artwork design by Oli Bentley, Split
Finnish trumpeter Verneri Pohjola is a force of nature, unquestionably a huge talent and a musician with a commanding and individual voice who is able to bring warmth and stillness to his playing as well as a vibrant intensity. His writing is strong and bold, adept at finding those hooky melodies that jump out at you as progressive, creative and individual. The Dead Don’t Dream is his fourth album on Edition and sixth in total. His recent offerings appear very different, yet contain coherent themes. Bullhorn (2015) was entirely original and placed Verneri firmly on the European scene as the one to watch. Pekka in 2017 saw him interpreting his famous father’s music, bringing a rockier approach and electronics to the party. His last, Animal Image, was a completely improvised duo with drummer Mika Kallio. Each of these albums challenged Verneri to reach further with his playing, and to explore wider soundscapes.
His new album ‘The Dead Don’t Dream incorporates all three styles into one defined and beautifully crafted album. It takes the core band sound of the electric Pekka, features all original compositions and expresses them with the freedom and improvisation explored on Animal Image. On this album Verneri wanted to express both the wider range of sound that the use of electronics contributes, and the more open form and drama that comes from improvisation. This is an album that connects the work on his previous three albums with complete coherence, individualism and creativity.
Verneri comes from a rich musical heritage – his father Pekka Pohjola was an international rock star. He was surrounded by it growing up and it informed his musical and personal development. He has evolved into one of the most important Finnish jazz musicians, and gained a name for himself that has earnt him deep respect as a writer, composer and improvisor. Finland’s uniquely nurturing culture creates from childhood a richness and sense of purpose that provides the environment for powerful creativity. It’s these qualities that are overtly apparent in Verneri’s approach to music making.
On the surface the album title could reference a darker side but, in fact, this is an album of optimism and opportunity. As Verneri explains: “The music is not necessarily about (or derived from) anxiety or hopelessness, even though there’s plenty of both in our modern society. For me it’s more about breathing in and out, letting go of unnecessary stress, accepting who you are and hopefully becoming a more balanced person. And then again rushing head on to dream into existence the next musical adventure. It’s about embracing life in all of its complex emotions, while we still have it. After all, the dead don’t dream.” A message for our times.
The band includes Pekka alumni Tuomo Prättälä on piano, Antti Lötjönen on bass and Mika Kallio on drums, who’s also Verneri’s duo partner. This album is an artistic work, built from all the influences that have informed Verneri’s life to date. There’s balance in colour, light and dynamic, a deep sense of collaboration and sharing of a common purpose and as an explorer of sound. The music balances freedom and composition, expression and voice. It’s a defining work of art for Verneri, for Finnish culture and a statement of intent for an artist immersed in the world of European Jazz.
"The instrumentalist Pohjola is brilliant - a technically very advanced trumpeter with a huge register. That technique is never used to impress, only to express what he has in his heart"
"Pohjola confirms his great skills and strong position on the jazz market with a great album."