Every now and again along comes an album that really makes you listen up and take notice.
Finnish bassist Jukka Haavisto’s first solo album ”Reflections” is one such record. If you’re into classic Seventies Fusion Jazz, then you should definitely give this album a listen!
Jukka Haavisto – the name’s pronounced a bit like ”Yucca Harvester” – recorded ”Reflections” with his band comprising himself as leader and bassist (obviously), Johannes Granroth on guitar, Vili Itäpelto on keyboards, and Severi Sorjonen on drums.
Haavisto and his band must have had a large sign in the studio reading ”Put the music first, stupid!”, because that’s exactly what they did. Where some Fusion records try to blind you with overtly technical playing and deliberately complicated arrangements, ”Reflections” draws the listener in with its warm, almost ”retro” soundscapes and it’s wonderfully musical approach to the genre.
This isn’t to say that ”Reflections” is a pastiche or a rehash – far from it! Jukka Haavisto and his band have managed to come up with an album of compositions that feed the soul and the mind in equal proportions, taking on board the best of classic Fusion Jazz, but transporting it to our times. The playing is top notch and the album’s sound warm and welcoming.
Jukka Haavisto’s”Reflections” is too good an album to let it pass unnoticed. It is available both digitally and as a physical record. You should give it a spin – now!
Usually, we get the products we review from the Finnish distributors, or directly from Finnish guitar- or amp-makers.
This time, though, I was approached by guitarist Jaakko Rytsölä. Jaakko had ordered a guitar for himself, liked what he got, and is now thinking seriously about importing this brand, in partnership with Espoo-based company Guitarworx.
Jericho Guitars – who are based in Plano, Texas – are a brand specialising exclusively in long-scale baritone electric guitars. Jericho use what they call a ping-pong manufacturing process: The raw tonewood is hand-selected at a wood supplier in British Columbia (Canada), and then sent to a manufacturer in South Korea for all the basic neck and body work. The half-finished guitars are then shipped back to Texas, where they are assembled and set up. According to Jericho, this process results in high-quality instruments with a player-friendly price tag.
Jericho have already caused quite a few waves with their Avenger model, which is squarely aimed at the Hard ’n’ Heavy crowd. Now the company has introduced a new model, called the Jericho Fusion. We received a preproduction version of the Jericho Fusion Black And Gold-version for review.
The Jericho Fusion (price in Finland approximately 999 €) is a sleek and elegant baritone guitar, with a body outline that is based on the venerable Fender Telecaster.
The Fusion has a three-piece mahogany set neck, as well as a mahogany body with a contoured front.
The Fusion has a scale length of 26.9″, which means 68.3 cm in the metric system.
The body’s back features a generous rib cage chamfer.
Jericho’s headstock design looks very nice, and offers almost straight string pull, which is a definite plus for tuning stability.
The Fusion comes with a self-lubricating black Graph Tech Tusq XL nut.
A set of golden Grover Rotomatics keeps the tuning solid.
The black ebony fretboard sports 22 medium-sized frets.
The bridge is a chunky Hipshot design, constructed from a machined brass base and stainless steel bridge saddles.
The Jericho Fusion comes equipped with a classic pair of Seymour Duncan humbuckers – a ’59-model in the neck position, and a Custom TB-5 at the bridge.
The guitar’s controls are configured in traditional Les Paul-style, giving you independent volume and tone controls for each pickup.
A look under the hood reveals quality components and clean workmanship. Our preproduction review guitar has regular Les Paul-style wiring, but production models will come with push/pull-pots for splitting the humbuckers.
The Jericho Fusion is a great player. Actually – and this might come as a bit of a surprise – it is very easy for the guitarist to adjust to the longer-than-usual scale length. After a minute or two, you simply forget about the longer scale, and just get on with playing.
The guitar’s neck profile is a neither too slim, nor too fat, ”D”. Our review sample had a comfortable medium weight, and it came with a very low and slinky setup.
While Jericho’s Avenger was designed to be a balls-to-the-wall Metal-machine, the new Fusion model covers much more musical and tonal ground, thanks to its less powerful pickups. Don’t worry, the Jericho Fusion can do the head-banging stuff with aplomb, too, but this guitar also holds very lush clean tones in store, should you be so inclined.
Here’s a short clip of all three toggle switch settings (starting at the neck), played through a clean amplifier:
And here’s the audio track from the You Tube-video:
Jericho Guitars’ Fusion is a great-playing, versatile modern baritone electric. This guitar is well-made, no-nonsense tone machine for the player who wants to go low or even lower. Let’s hope that Jericho’s instruments will soon become more widely available in Finland.