Kimmo Pohjonen (accordion) / Eric Echampard (drums) joined forces in 2001 with the goal to make totally improvised music, live on stage with no rehearsals. They have succeeded in their aim to ride the edge of melody, counterpoint, energy and tension as proven by the enthusiastic audiences at each performance, as well as by the satisfaction and exhilaration of the two players. They have performed since inception in 2001 to the present day with concerts in Estonia, France, Norway, Netherlands, Serbia, Slovenia, Italy and Finland. None of their performances are planned or rehearsed.
Video: Pohjonen / Echampard from Aperitivo in Concerto-Teatro Manzoni, Milano, Italy on Feb 8, 2015. (entire concert)
Video: Pohjonen / Echampard live in Pietarsaari, Finland, Feb 2015 (excerpt)
Pohjonen, in duo with Ducret's brilliant and utterly dynamic drummer Eric Echampard, proved himself, in the course of that hour, to be truly an innovator on his instrument and in his conception of improvised music. Layering chords upon chords and building to crescendos of melodic and harmonic extravagance by means of a seamless production of gradually mounting orchestral body from his instrument, pedaled special-effects such as loops, sampling, and playback, and guttural vocalizations, moans, and insect-like buzzes via a tiny mic resting upon his left cheek, Pohjonen rocked back and forth demonically on his stool, his face often contorted in emotional pain. So distraught did he appear in his final ten minutes or so onstage, as he hurled himself forward onto his feet into a crouch several times, pumping the accordion and manipulating its keys and buttons as though possessed by a spirit (as well he may have been -- the program parenthetically included as among his musical styles "shamanistic trance"), I thought that he would wrest the accordion from his shoulders by its straps and smash it on the stage…Kimmo Pohjonen's performance proved to be a riveting musical and surreal theatrical experience, a multi-dimensional display of totally original, astonishingly eccentric, and unabashedly uncompromising artistic genius. I can't think of any performance of recent years that has so moved me. Allow me here to praise drummer Echampard for his extraordinary drive, virtuosity, and creativity under what clearly must have been murderous pressure to stay abreast of the headlong idiosyncrasy of his musical companion. We look forward to Kimmo Pohjonen one day soon taking the continental U.S. by storm. www.jazzhouse.org