Mike McLatchey 16-September-2002 Ahmoo!

Fusion wasn't exactly uncommon in Finland, thanks mostly to the Love label and artists such as Finnforest, Jukka Hauru and Jukka Tolonen. Jupu Group, however, was a much more obscure outfit, having only released one album on an independent in the mid 70s. Like most European fusion groups, Jupu found themselves inspired by the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Weather Report and Return to Forever, and particularly the former due to the prevalence of violin leads. Fully instrumental, Jupu pull off a set of six pieces that display the talent of keyboard, guitar, and violin in a number of ways, from sheer virtuoso attack to experimental tone manipulation. At times, the band completely ignores the vamp and solo approach of their obvious influences by working experimentally such as on the nearly 10 minute title track where long periods of time go by with only percussion rattling and rambling piano chording. "Moment," from the second side is more typically fusion, although the solos don't come until after some slight string experimentation on the atmospheric opening segment. When they do it's a typical burn session, with the rhythm section setting a nice, heartracing pace. In fact, where other second generation fusion artists found themselves bogged down in solo battles and virtuoso unison lines, Jupu Group spend a lot of work on atmospheric composition, the effects of which can be mostly found on side two. In all, this sole album by the band stands up quite well next to most of the Love label fusion groups, a label known for its balanced and creative works.

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