Paidarion is a band from Finland and was founded in 2006 by drummer Kimmo Pörsti. When visiting their website I noticed that Kimmo also participate in the bands Mist Season and Samurai Of Prog. In the year 2009 Paidarion released their first album “Hauras Silta”. Kimmo Pörsti and Jan-Olaf Strandberg (bass) found that it was time to start a band that not only could do recordings but also could perform live. The new line-up of the band was completed with guitarist Jaan Jaanson, vocalist Elina Hautakoski, keyboardist Kimmo Tapanainen and Risto Salmi on tenor & soprano saxes. Together with the participation of some friends the band now releases their second album entitled “Behind The Curtains”.
with guest appearances of:
Olli Jaakkola - flute; Michael Manring - bass; Rob Price - vocals; Steve Unruh (Resistor) - Violin
The album opens with the instrumental title track “Behind The Curtains (A Song For Michael)”. The song is composed by Jan-Olaf Strandberg and he immediately shows his skills on the fretless bass. The song is very atmospheric with delicate keyboards and flute. What a beautiful melodies in this great opener. The next songs “A Small Wish” and “Trapeze” are delicious jazz-fusion compositions that sometimes reminds me of the work of the jazz-fusion bands of the drummers Simon Phillips and Dave Weckl. Maybe because of the funky style and the use of sax. In the instrumental “Trapeze” the guitar of Jaan Jaanson plays an important role. In the delicate “A Springtime Meadow” Elina Hautakoski shows her beautiful voice while she is accompanied by beautifully piano and sax melodies. “A Vertical Rope” is a a long (10 minutes) and diverse composition that starts slow with delicate piano, bass and a beautiful vocal line. The vocal parts are combined with nice instrumental interludes with tasteful keys, guitars, flute and even a violin solo by Steve Unruh. In the later part the tension of the music is slowly building up towards a climax with a soaring guitar solo. This beautiful song ends slowly with a delicate bass solo. After this first highlight “A Leap Into The Unkown” starts of with a church organ intro. This piece develops into a burning prog-rock composition with fat synth and guitar solo's. The music is a fusion between prog-rock and jazz-fusion. To label it you maybe must speak of progressive jazz-fusion. Then the band slows down with “A Rose In The Sun” sung by Elina Hautakoski. Like in “A Springtime Meadow” you can find in “A Rose In The Sun” beautiful vocal lines and delicate piano, bass and sax parts. “Paidarion” opens with an acoustic guitar and after the first vocal lines the sax introduces a more up tempo and swinging melody. There are also some nice synth and organ melodies. The track ends with a sax solo on top of a tight and funky rhythm section. “The Magician's Dream” is a short and atmospheric piece where Elina is joined by Rob Price on vocals. In “The Final Show” we can enjoy a beautiful violin part played by Steve Unruh (Resistor) accompanied by a romantic piano theme. This is a beautiful opening before the jazz-fusion side of Paidarion returns. In the later part Jaan Jaanson is playing a freaky guitar solo before the melodic and romantic theme returns. Like the opening of this song, the end is very beautiful with melodic electric guitar and piano.
“Behind The Curtains” is a fine album full of jazz-fusion with a somewhat smooth/mellow character. Sometimes the jazzy music is developing towards a more progressive (symphonic) style. The album sounds fine and the musicians have all good musical skills. The band has with skilled bass player Jan-Olaf Strandberg and the swinging drummer Kimmo Pörsti a steady rhythm section. But there are also fine contributions of the talented guitarist Jaan Jaanson, sax player Risto Salmi and keyboardist Kimmo Tapanainen. The beautiful singing of Elina Hautakoski gives the album the needed diversity. You will never be bored while listening to this fine album.