by Mika Pohjola with Sanni Orasmaa, Eeppi Ursin, Henrik Lamberg

"Leivonen Lumimyrskyssä is a documentary as well as musical experience by pianist and composer Mika Pohjola, who now lives in New York. A large roster of players in multiple ensembles perform fifteen songs; the CD also contains five interview snippets with Kärki, plus a computer-compatible multimedia presentation featuring some of his original arrangements. Kärki's interest in jazz began after hearing Louis Armstrong's 1920s recordings. Plans to move to the US were abandoned when he was called into service during World War II. 'Kärki used very sophisticated melodic and harmonic ideas in all his compositions and arrangements,' Pohjola writes in his liner notes. 'My arrangements on this record are somewhat out of the ordinary, yet they convey an idea of the strength of Toivo Kärki's music; his compositions preserve their character even when expressed in a musical style far away from the original.' " -Mark Sabbatini, All About Jazz

After the wartime in the mid-forties, Toivo Kärki had to hide his interest in big band swing music, but he never abandoned it. He was a realist though, and preferred to place his musical talent in the service of the general public, so eager for uplifting entertainment after the demanding war years. Nevertheless, Kärki used very sophisticated melodic and harmonic ideas in all his compositions and arrangements. This is why his compositions are a challenge for modern authors working on new versions of these old songs. This album, A Lark in the Snowstorm, combines the versatility of his compositions, his musical preferences and his aspirations, adapted into a modern expression of music. The title piece is the second earliest of Kärki's existing compositions, a true reflection of the many turns in his life. Only those who were more familiar with him knew that basically he was a sensitive artist - like a lark. On the other hand they knew that he was a persevering fighter, who had to struggle against the odds throughout most of his professional career. He never gave up, not even in an icy snowstorm. The compositions of Toivo Kärki (1915-1992), at least the best of them, can be characterized with the exacting word 'quality'. The basis for his musical thought was his keen interest in jazz, which started as early as 1928 when he heard Louis Armstrong on record. After winning an international contest for new compositions, arranged by the Rhythm magazine in 1939, Kärki planned to move to the United States. History, however, decided otherwise: the Finnish Winter War (against the Soviet Union) broke out and Kärki was sent to the front like thousands of others.