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Suomijazz.com Pentti Ronkainen 29.09.04.
Translated by Tuija Modinos
Original review in Finnish (jpg, 207 Kb)

Review by Suomijazz

There's no telling what Timo Pratskin was thinking about when he titled his first solo album update. Perhaps he was thinking about updating jazzrock or progressive jazz with current sounds and fresh players. Or perhaps this updating took place on a more personal level, and was about his relationship to his own playing or this kind of music.

Pratskin has seen a great deal. In the studio he has done the work of several musicians. As to playing in a band, what one first remembers is the urban blues tunings with Pepe Ahlqvist since the late 1980s, but what above all comes to mind when one thinks of Timo Pratskin is fusion jazz. Fusion jazz bands - and musicians - that he has played in / with include, among others, Instinct, Fissio, Tuppu Orrenmaa, Jan Olof Strandberg, Loop Treatment and Pekka Pohjola Band.

Getting nowhere, a long track, is one of this record's most versatile and variable pieces, and at the same time a track in which the development most reminds one of Pohjola's music. Whether it is a deliberate tribute to Pohjola, or a mere random gesture / reference towards him, one cannot really tell. Nevertheless, it is an excellent piece of music, with a pleasant combination of acoustic piano sound and heavy guitar comp.

Composition wise the whole record is not completely intriguing. Some of the material takes subtle riffing as its point of departure, which makes jamming and solos seem more important than the structures. Devil in your dreams is a good example of this; it sounds so elegant that at the end of the solo section one keeps yarning for more. Most probably these are the points, which on a gig would serve as entries to new paths and higher gears.

Those who know their 1970s rockjazz will find it easy to dive into the sound scapes of Pain and relief and Behind the corner. The sounds are up to date, but the playing sails the familiar and safe open sea of basic fusion jazz. And why not, when the outcome is this good.

The playing technique on the record is of high quality, as can be expected from a group of this skilled musicians. Anssi Nykänen's comp bounces and kicks in its usual lively manner as the strong basis of everything else that happens. Jaan Wessman cannot really be expected to play swinging jazz, his bass line comes through with the accuracy of progressive rock, not when and where ever. Tomi Vartiainen is an excellent guitarist, but in spite of his good spurts he does not really have wind beneath his wings this time. Pratskin himself has carefully put together a rich variety of sounds for this record. Often he even crosses over to Vartiainen's territory, and sounding like a guitarist manages to get off his usual form in a very impressive manner.

Update is quality work. However, the composition would have needed some more beef into it. For those into progressive rock and jazz this record is a definite must.