Kimmo Pörsti – Wayfarer (2020)

Kimmo Pörsti - Wayfarer (2020)
Artist: Kimmo Pörsti
Album: Wayfarer
Genre: Crossover Prog
Label: Seacrest Oy
Year Of Release: 2020
Quality: FLAC (image+.cue)

Tracklist:
1. Arrival (3:00)
2. Heaven’s Gate (6:15)
3. Creer, Crecer (4:55)
4. Connection Lost (5:29)
5. Morning Mist (4:42)
6. Thunkit (6:22)
7. Wayfarer (4:54)
8. Cruz del Sur (10:19)
9. Witch Watch (6:51)
10. This Day Is Yours (5:51)
11. Heavy Winter (3:29)
12. Icy Storm (5:28)
13. Mika (5:18)

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Personnel:
– Kimmo Pörsti / producer, drums & percussion (all except 7), keyboards (1,4,5,7,10,12,13), bass (4,5,12,13), guitars (5,13)

With:
– Marek Arnold / soprano saxophone (9,10), keyboards (10)
– Dave Bainbridge / guitars (2,6), keyboards (6)
– Marco Bernard / bass (2,3,8,10)
– Carmine Capasso / guitars (5)
– Jenny Darren / vocals (5,7,12)
– Rodrigo Godoy / vocals & guitars (3), vocals & percussion (8)
– Hitomi Iriyama / violin (2,12)
– Olli Jaakkola / flute (2,7,13)
– Steve Mauk / keyboards (10)
– Kev Moore / vocals (10)
– Jose Manuel Medina / keyboards, orchestration (2)
– Rafael Pacha / guitars (4,5,7,10), whistles, recorders, etc. (4,5)
– Otso Pakarinen / keyboards (1,10)
– Hanna Pörsti / flute (5,12)
– J-P Rantanen / keyboards (11)
– Kari Riihimäki / guitars (1,12)
– Jari Riitala / guitars (1,6,9), keyboards & bass (6,9)
– Jaime Rosas / keyboards (3,8)
– Jan-Olof Strandberg / bass (7,11)

I have enjoyed many of the Samurai of Prog’s albums over the years and Kimmo’s solo works have been equally as good. His side projects, Mist Season and Paidarion are also very good vehicles for his excellent progressive rock music.

This spring, Kimmo released his second solo album Wayfarer, and he recently sent me a copy for review. Kimmo Pörsti, the leader on this production plays, drums, percussion, bass, keyboards, and acoustic guitar.

Wayfarer, as most of Kimmo’s albums includes inspired performances by a long list of talented progressive rock guest artists, including: Marek Arnold, (GER): sax and keyboards; Dave Bainbridge (UK), on guitars and keyboards; Marco Bernard (FI), on bass; Carmine Capasso (ITA), on guitars; Jenny Darren (UK), on vocals; Rodrigo Godoy (CHI), on vocals and guitars; Hitomi Iriyama (JPN), on violin and vocals; Olli Jaakkola (FI), on flute; Steve Mauk (USA), on keyboards; Kev Moore (UK), on vocals; José Manuel Medina (SPA), on keyboards and orchestrations; Rafael Pacha (SPA), on guitars, whistles, and recorders; Otso Pakarinen (FI), on keyboards; Hanna Pörsti (FI), on flute; J-P Rantanen (FI), on keyboards; Kari Riihimäki (FI), on guitars; Jari Riitala (FI), on guitars, keyboards, and bass; Jaime Rosas (CHI), on keyboards; and Jan-Olof Strandberg (FI), on bass.

The album opens with a Bolero like instrumental, beginning with “Arrival, and continuing with “Heaven’s Gate”, that is so sweet you will want to hear them repeatedly.

“Creer, Crecer”, is full of Italian vocals and lyrics and some of the best piano and keyboards I have heard this year. Inspired music, full of life and devoid of the strife the world has had all year in 2020. Perfect music to take your mind off, and your spirit away from, all of the chaos and troubles of 2020. Immerse yourself in this wonderful joy.

The wonderful folk-like joy continues on “Connection Lost”, as beautiful wind instruments and thunderous drums take you back to the Heavy Horses, epic era of Jethro Tull. The guitar work, intermingled with soft supporting keyboards makes this one of the best songs on the album. The percussion will further lift your spirits and inspire you to get up out of the chair and do a jig.

“Morning Mist”, is one of the best songs on the album. With Jenny Darren’s soft vocals and the magical guitar work mixed with profound flute, this song is the perfect remedy for this year’s many rough edges. Memories to help bring back the normal we all felt before 2020. Always, remember, everything starts over at morning. Thank you for this Kimmo.

“Thunkit”, is full of spirit, dancing guitars, deep bass and pounding drums that just drive the fast – paced melody onward. A very cool, jazzy instrumental.

The title song, “Wayfarer”, opens with soft flute from Olli Jaakkota. It is then filled by warm vocals from Jenny Darren, promising better days. She sings, “The winter night brings this message to you, moving forward in time. You have all you need. The dark cold will disappear, take a step and never fear. For the future the window is open”. Wow, do we all need to hear that! One of the best songs of the year. Jenny’s voice reminds me of the great singers from the 1970s. Like Dionne Warwick and Helen Reddy. Excellent choice of a vocalist.

The rest of the album is a jazzy, cool, prog inspired mix.

The final track, “Mika”, is a beautiful, moving tribute to Mika Jaakkola.

This is one of the better albums of 2020. The artwork from Nele Diel is worth the price of admission alone. Beautiful inspired artwork, that knocked me back when I first opened the CD pack.

The music asks you to open your mind and close your eyes and remember how wonderful life was around the world, before the pandemic moved in. Every song is a musical inspiration and a breath of fresh air in this troubling year of madness. The fact that these artists can unite and create such moving music during these troubled times should be an inspiration to us all.
~ Professor Mark, progressiverockcentral

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