This 1997 outing represents Finland-born pianist/composer Mika Pohjola's second release, and serves as another example of the musician's diverse repertoire and expansive jazz vernacular. Throughout, Pohjola, bassist Matt Penman, drummer Roberto Dani, and saxophonist Chris Cheek meld peppery swing vamps with intricately organized micro-themes, amid an abundance of cleverly articulated harmonic developments. With the piece titled "The Secret of the Castle (With the Open Window)," Cheek and Pohjola render linear statements via a series of lower register, single-note unison choruses atop sparse doses of free jazz-style interplay and semi-classical chord voicings. Overall, the band integrates memorably melodic motifs with traces of Scandinavian folk, sturdy ostinato rhythmic passages, vibrant swing grooves, and hearty soloing. Hence, Pohjola conveys a sense of maturity, which is indicative of a seasoned and well-traveled artist, despite his relatively brief tenure as a professional jazz musician.
AllMusic Review by Glenn Astarita