About the album
Iiro Rantala is a jazz chameleon who loves to appear in many guises. The Finnish pianist invariably springs a surprise with the concepts for his albums, particularly those of his solo piano projects. For "My Finnish Calendar", he has turned a new page: this is improvised music but with an extra-musical narrative: from a very personal and Finnish point of view, he has set to music the passing of a complete year in his home country, and he has done it with his typical mixture of melodic inventiveness, melancholy and humour. His well-known technical finesse and mastery, acquired over the years, have been applied here with an unerring instinct for bringing the essential to the fore.
Each piece on this album represents a month of the year, and each also exists as an independent artistic statement. And if the storyline might not always be directly apparent from the music, Rantala has provided explanations and hilarious anecdotes in his liner notes.
"My Finnish Calendar" is Iiro Rantala's third solo album. He has remained true and consistent to the artistic beliefs that shaped both of his previous recordings: "Jazz needs melodies,” he says. “It needs things that people can latch on to." On his ACT debut "Lost Heroes" (2011) Rantala proved his outstanding ability to venerate great predecessors and role models, from Bill Evans, Erroll Garner and Art Tatum to Esbjörn Svensson, Michel Petrucciani and even Luciano Pavarotti. He didn’t copy them, what shone through was his own identity. Then, in 2015 he captivated his audience with his interpretation of John Lennon's music. In "My Working Class Hero", Rantala succeeded in creating an anthem to the great revolutionary of pop, in an incredibly subtle way and in a true jazz spirit. And he has now reinvented himself again, as a researcher observing the Finnish seasons through jazz...