Jartse Tuominen -
Untold Stories

(CD 2016, 42:48, Sledgehammer Ky MIG01472)

The tracks:
  1- Extraordinary(5:43)
  2- Hybrid Fusion(5:27)
  3- Mesa(3:10)
  4- Time To Go(5:35)
  5- Simppa Goes To Töysä(3:37)
  6- Trouble Shuffle(2:42)
  7- Untold(5:16)
  8- Nine Lives(4:24)
  9- Yeah Right(3:35)
10- Farewell(3:15)

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The Finnish guitar player Jartse Tuominen is a fairly unknown name to me, but in his homeland he has already released four albums. Untold Stories is his fifth one. The past eighteen years he has been working in the USA and in Finland. For that reason the musicians on this album are both from the USA and from his homeland. Tuominen played in several bands with different musical styles: from progressive rock to jazz and from an acoustic duo to a pop group that participated in the Eurovision Song Contest in 1994. Well, of course, the latter doesn't provide any guaranty for high quality music, but that's another discussion.

Untold Stories sees the participation of some international acclaimed musicians like Steve Bernal and Harri Rantanen on bass guitar, Pekka Siistonen on keyboards and Brannen Temple and Anssi Nykänen on drums. Musically Tuominen remains close to traditional, or better classic rock, sometimes blended with jazz and fusion elements; at other times with elements of rock and roll. The most important instrument on the album is the guitar, but the accompanying keyboards and the Hammond organ certainly enrich his music. Listen for instance to Simppa Goes To Töysä, wherein the Hammond and the piano are used.

The compositions are nice, but never surprising. The opening riff of Hybrid Fusion sounds rather familiar one way or another. Moreover, it contains an odd percussive section, that doesn't add anything to the music. That also applies to other compositions; they're not really innovative. I guess Gary Moore has greatly influenced Tuominen, which he shows in Time To Go, a nice composition with a great guitar sound. A big downer on the album is the simple rock and roll song Trouble Shuffle, which doesn't do justice to the other compositions. It's just plain boring.

Well, to put it briefly, Untold Stories is an instrumental album filled with classic rock and blues-rock influenced soloing. Every now and then some jazzy parts are added, but in general these pieces just pass by smoothly. The aforementioned track Time To Go and the album's final piece Farewell show Jartse Tuominen's admiration for Gary Moore. I have to credit him with his fine playing on these pieces, but on the whole the album sounds too average for my ears.

*** Pedro Bekkers (edited by Peter Willemsen)

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