This duet was Edward Vesala's idea. Both musicians were among his closest collaborators, pianist/harpist Iro Haarla (also his wife) for over 20 years, saxophonist Pepa Päivinen since 1984. This album, the duo's first, was recorded in December 2000, a year after the composer's untimely death. Yarra is an Australian aboriginal word meaning flowing, as in: time passes by, wounds heal, whatever happens water keeps on flowing. Half of the ten pieces included here are taken from Vesala's songbook. "Invisible Storm" constitutes a highlight, the composition moving away from jazz (even free jazz) to fall somewhere between this idiom and contemporary classical without the verbiage of Third Stream. Päivinen plays with fire. Haarla's harp in "Fenix" and "Like the Sand of the Ocean" finds in the saxophonist's soprano a beautiful, kindred spirit. There is a touch of Finnish winter in this CD, grief and resolution, too. The cathartic effect this recording session must have had tends to imprison the musicians in a private dialogue, but doors have managed to let the listener in and there are moments of brightness and splashes of major chords -- "Satin Ladder," for example, and the beautiful "Fenix."
AllMusic Review by François Couture