"Avoid the basic concept of the jazz piano trio and make it more groovy, with simple melodies” Iiro Rantala. After the album “My Working Class Hero,” dedicated to John Lennon and “Tears for Esbjörn,” a homage to the influential Swedish pianist, “How Long Is Now?” puts the spotlight fairly and squarely back on to the Finnish pianist, composer and life-force Iiro Rantala. This new trio album with Peter Erskine (drums) and Lars Danielsson (bass) constitutes a many-faceted summing-up of a happy and resoundingly creative phase of Rantala’s life. Rantala says of the new album: “I think this is one of those ‘composition is the king’ kind of projects. The theme, the writing, the mood of the composition are the most important things.” Seven of the thirteen compositions here are by Rantala himself, three tracks by the other players in the trio, and three more are by others who, in their different ways, have helped to construct Rantala’s appealing musical personality.
Rantala has recorded this solo piano set of Lennon tunes as a tribute to his own childhood hero, to commemorate what would have been the 75th anniversary of Lennon's birth on 9th October 2015. Using the Steinway D concert grand piano employed by classical legend Alfred Brendel with the Berlin Philharmonic (with even the piano tuner getting a sleeve credit), this is a session of brooding textures, space, touch and nuance. Rantala has mostly approached the project using a pared-down idiom, and the results are a late-night liturgy of memories and love for the music.