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WE JAZZ

Helsinki quartet OK:KO releases their third album "Liesu" with We Jazz Records on 15 April. The band, led by drummer/composer Okko Saastamoinen and including saxophonist Jarno Tikka, pianist Toomas Keski-Säntti and bassist Mikael Saastamoinen (of Superpostion & Linda Fredriksson "Juniper") is a scene favourite in Finland and has recently garnered some international attention with their melodic, dynamic and original approach. The OK:KO sound is adventurous yet accessible, and contemporary yet rooted in the lineage of acoustic small group jazz.

When listening to OK:KO, you can feel that their influences also come from out of the musical realm. After all, isn't this just how it should be? Making music from your own life. Here, you can tell that the landscape of rural Finland, its poetic, at times even melancholy beauty, is ever present. It's folk song country. But don't be fooled, these guys form a real flesh and blood jazz band. That means that the music just starts when the first note hits, and onwards from there, we're in for a wild ride.

Whether punchy like on "Anima", solemn like on "Arvo", or just trekking out there a skiing lane of their own like on "Vanhatie", what you'll get is pure OK:KO. Melodic, interactive, honest and forward-reaching contemporary jazz music. That is something we appreciate – a lot!

Vinyl editions available on opaque white / black vinyl, with inside-out 3mm spine sleeve and a polylined black inner sleeve.

TRACK LISTING

1. Anima
2. Rieju
3. Kirkkis
4. Arvo
5. Vanhatie
6. Yösalmi

Dan Nicholls

Mattering And Meaning

London-based keyboardist/producer Dan Nicholls (of Y-OTIS) introduces a new album project 'Mattering And Meaning' to be released by We Jazz Records on August 13th. Nicholls' music uses acoustic piano as its key element, transporting the instrument into new territories that sound remarkably natural and organic, whilst displaying a strong kinship with the world of abstract electronic music. The music utilises piano loops and field recordings as its key elements, forming what might be described on the surface as a fascinating ambient jazz record – but at the same time there's so much more at play here on deeper levels. Dan's music sounds at once otherworldly and immensely inviting.

After years of unlearning and unravelling the knots of a music college education – moving from a career in jazz, via electronic music, to a heartfelt embrace with rave culture and the feminist and queer theories which have so challenged perspectives across many disciplines on the objectified world and the values of capitalism – Dan Nicholls has spontaneously reimagined his relationship to the piano, that edifice of the decaying foundations of european classical music.

Here the emphasis shifts from the Work (as object) to the work (as activity). Recorded with only a mobile phone voice recorder, eschewing the gloss of high fidelity audio to embrace the problematic cyborg appendage of the i-Fone VI-$, these lucidly dreamed tracks, like notes in a journal, find their depth and form through quick experimentation and distillation – layering, stretching and collaging in ways that treat the piano as a textural element in the daily soundscape, spilling into, and going along with, regular activities with no ceremony or established system to the process.

For Dan, this is as much a documentation as a therapeutic process, casting aside the dogma and seriousness of much artistic practice whilst embracing joy and improvisation in order to search for deeper narratives. The speculative imaginings of three revolutionary thinkers, Donna Haraway, Ursula K. Le Guin and Karen Barad, have profoundly shaped the conception of this album, which also emerged from a deep interest in human relationships to ecstatic practices and communalities which have been so eroded by imperialist/patriarchal/capitalist forces. The title, "Mattering and Meaning", is a meditation on the crumbling habitual delineation and separation of both objects and definitions, including our (ironically) self-destructive human thinking patterns which position us as objective observers, above and over the world rather than inside it, apparently separate from nature and from each other.

Like the melodies and themes which permeate these nine sonic tales, inextricable but nevertheless present, our world and our species prove to be more enmeshed, interconnected and interdependent than the dominant rationalism would lead us to believe. This album is a humble gift to the listener, a proposition for inclusion in their own ongoing soundscape, the perpetual activity of listening and awareness.

TRACK LISTING

1. Papa
2. Yeh Yeh
3. Fermentation
4. Breathe
5. Mattering And Meaning
6. Those Hills Hold You
7. Keep Doing Positive Things
8. Lou (The Posthuman Reverberates)
9. April 11th

Joona Toivanen Trio makes their We Jazz Records debut with their new album "Both Only", out 25 Feb 2022. A landmark work for the long standing group, the album showcases a new sound for the band, trekking deep into new ideas for an acoustic jazz piano trio. Since their formation as teenagers in mid-1990's, the trio of pianist Joona Toivanen, bassist Tapani Toivanen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori (of Superposition, Ilmiliekki Quartet and Linda Fredriksson "Juniper") has developed their remarkably coherent band sound step by step, touring the world over. Nowadays, the trio is geographically split between Gothenburg, Sweden (Joona), Copenhagen, Denmark (Tapani), and Helsinki, Finland (Olavi), but the unit has never sounded so together as one, and as adventurous as on "Both Only".

"Both Only" by Joona Toivanen Trio is a cocoon, a welcoming shelter of sound that opens up naturally for the listener to inhabit. The album is moody and introspective, even dark at times, but by the time you get to the closing track, "This and This", you'll likely notice something hopeful brewing up. This is not music dealing with nostalgia or a world lost. Instead, it's a body of work with delicate dynamics, taking a minute just to listen and to look inwards to learn something, to move forward.

The first single "Enlightened" is perhaps the most traditional piece on the album, yet it flows like a vessel beyond genre, conveying a mood, a feeling and an idea. Listen to how the piano, bass and drums discuss, how the groove moves with the instruments having their clear roles but also supporting each other and documenting a musical aging process exactly as that of a quality bottle of red wine. As a song like "Direction" proves, the melody is there all the way, yet there is nothing obvious about how it's carried by the trio. Things remain surprising, fresh and moving at all times. "Except For" keeps its intensity, while nearly erupting into a full on 4-to-the-floor banger. Nearly! The key here is how the energy sustains itself, building the intensity within the music.

"Both Only" is a powerful statement from a band ready to renew itself time and again, and one willing to do it slowly, outside of the hype. This process makes their impact enduring, nuanced and lovely.

TRACK LISTING

1. Both Only
2. Enlightened
3. Acceptance
4. Direction
5. Faculties
6. Of Profession
7. In Place
8. Except For
9. This And This

Ilmiliekki Quartet

Ilmiliekki Quartet

Ilmiliekki Quartet from Helsinki return with their new self-titled album on We Jazz Records on 11 February 2022. The group, including Verneri Pohjola (trumpet), Tuomo Prättälä (piano), Antti Lötjönen (bass) and Olavi Louhivuori (drums) is a mainstay in the Finnish scene and the band has been steadily developing their sound for nearly two decades now. It could be said that the group's musicians, each also a solo artist of note these days, has grown with and through performing together with this regularly working quartet. Ilmiliekki Quartet's music has a song-like melodic quality, which pairs naturally with their often freeform search for new musical landscapes.

As testament of Ilmiliekki Quartet being a Band with a capital B, the songs on the new album come from each of the four members. As before, the band also takes a borrowed tune in for a loving rendition, this time tackling "Aila" by the Finnish dream pop group Karina. All in all, there's a deep, moody element to the music, yet at the same time, their sound flows with remarkable ease and lightness of touch. This brings out a wide range of color in their music, which is easy to fall in love with.

STAFF COMMENTS

Millie says: One for all the Jazz heads out there, this is lovely ambient track after track of gorgeous music, they've been around for a long time now but continue to find new musical heights. A must if you like Matthew Halsall and Mammal Hands

TRACK LISTING

1. Three Queens (feat. Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen & Olavi Louhivuori)
2. Sgr A* (feat. Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen & Olavi Louhivuori)
3. Aila (feat. Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen & Olavi Louhivuori)
4. Follow The Damn Breadcrumbs (feat. Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen & Olavi Louhivuori)
5. Night Song (feat. Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen & Olavi Louhivuori)
6. Kaleidoscopesque (feat. Verneri Pohjola, Tuomo Prättälä, Antti Lötjönen & Olavi Louhivuori)

Brooklyn based drummer/producer Jason Nazary (of Anteloper) makes his We Jazz Records debut with "Spring Collection", released on 25 June. The album sees Nazary crafting some deliciously sparkly solo cuts plus working long disctance with choice collaborators Jaimie Branch, David Leon, Ramon Landolt, Matt Mitchell, Grey McMurray and Michael Coleman. This is essentially a collection of home recordings and the whole operation has an infectious feeling of immediacy to it. The result is improv adjacent electronic music, with modern production aesthetics transposed over spontaneous compositions.

Jason writes:

"With Spring Collection, my aim was to capture the spirit of spontaneity & collaboration lost in the absence of live music. Like most everyone else last spring, I suddenly had a lot of time on my hands and with all my work cancelled, and with an indefinite lockdown in effect, it became immediately apparent that most of my time – save a walk or two a day around the neighborhood – would be spent in the tiny one bedroom apartment I share with my wife and two cats.

What kind of music does one make during lockdown? I would begin my days with a cup of coffee and all the cables of my modest little modular set up in my lap, slowly discovering new sound worlds as I connected one cable after another – these became the beginnings for the pieces in Spring Collection. With these unformed sketches, I would record an improvisation, an exploration of sonics: a small kit of bells, shakers, pans, pots; their resonance captured in fine detail with ultra sensitive microphones. These became, in effect, a conversation first with myself, but later one I knew I had to open up, make social. In the desire not to diminish my collaborative impulses, I felt compelled to involve some of my favorite musicians in the process alongside me."

"Spring Collection" is released by We Jazz Records on 25 June on vinyl (neon orange & black vinyl editions), tape and digital formats. The vinyl edition comes with a booklet including original artwork and poetry by Todd Colby.

TRACK LISTING

1. An Easy Slide On
2. Weird Little Gopher
3. Pulses Of Wind, Real Or Imagined (feat. David Leon)
4. Slow Bell Jawn B (feat. Ramon Landolt)
5. Telefunk
6. Dust Moths (feat. Jaimie Branch & Matt Mitchell)
7. Rain On Cape (feat. Michael Coleman)
8. Days & Nights, For Em (feat. Grey McMurray)
9. Goodnight Moss

Joona Toivanen Trio

Except For / Keyboard Study No. 2

Gothenburg-based Finnish pianist Joona Toivanen makes his We Jazz Records debut with his long-standing trio featuring Tapani Toivanen on bass and Olavi Louhivuori of Superposition on drums. Searching for new opportunities on the minimal side of acoustic groove-based free music, the trio introduces a single edit of a hard-driving album track to be, "Except For", and a fresh take on Terry Riley's "Keyboard Study No. 2" on the flip. Fans of introspective jazz piano plus minimalist modern composition take notice.

TRACK LISTING

1. Except For (7 Edit)
2. Keyboard Study No. 2

Tenor saxophonist Timo Lassy, one of Finland's leading jazz artists, is back with a new album release "Trio" on We Jazz Records. The album, to be released on 27 August, introduces Lassy's new combo with bassist Ville Herrala and drummer Jaska Lukkarinen – both We Jazz Records roster artists on their own right.

The new Lassy sound is tight, swinging and funky, led by the strong and riff-ready sax of the tenorman. That being said, the album's sound is not limited to that of the swinging trio. Lassy's new vision also brings in some subtle electronics (played by Lassy, Dalindèo frontman Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen and Ilmiliekki Quartet pianist Tuomo Prättälä) and lush strings performed by Budapest Art Orchestra as arranged by Finnish artist Marzi Nyman. It's a new sound for Lassy, but one which keeps true to his no-nonsense cookin' on the tenor.

This combination proves to be a winning one on the album, ranging from the more solemn moments on tracks such as "Sunday 20" and "Sointu" to the all out groovers like "Pumping C" and "Subtropical". The basic three sylinders of the band tenor sax, bass and drums, are strong throughout and the strings add air beneath the wings to really lift things off. Electronics are used as a tasty condiment, not taking over the main course but adding to it just right.

"We began the process with the bare bones trio but along the way, the sound started evolving into something else" Lassy explains. "That's how I like to work, anyway, while the trio can take this music to great lengths live, on the album I like to paint a fuller, more colourful picture sonically."

Speaking of painting, the sleeve of the album features the original artwork "Subtropic" by Finnish artist Ilari Hautamäki. "Trio" by Timo Lassy will be released by We Jazz Records as blue and black vinyl editions complete with a heavy duty tip-on sleeve, on CD and digitally. The special BUNDLE version includes the LP with a 7" featuring two non-LP tracks, available with blue LP + blue 7" or as black LP + black 7", bound together in a re-sealable "Japanese styled" sleeve, plus a We Jazz sticker.

TRACK LISTING

1. Foreign Routes
2. Better Together
3. Sointu
4. Sunday 20
5. Subtropical
6. Pumping C
7. Orlo

Kaukolampi

We Jazz Reworks, Vol. 1

We Jazz Records is delighted to share the first edition of our new series of reworks with you . Our aim is to invite some of our favourite artists to take a fresh look at our album releases with the interval of 10 full length album releases. In other words, the invited artist has complete freedom to choose (or not to choose) any sample material from their allocated range of ten We Jazz Records albums, and there are no artistic boundaries of what they should do with the material. Each artist will then create a new musical piece based on the sample material and whatever instrumentation they wish to add to it.

As our first guest, we have the great Finnish producer Timo Kaukolampi who goes by his last name only when creating deep and mobile soundscapes, that never fail to evoke emotions and thoughts in the listener. We have long been fans of his work, released under Kaukolampi, Kaukolampi & Puranen (a duo with Tuomo Puranen), and on the vast discography of kraut-informed space rockers K-X-P.

As this is the first of our new series, Kaukolampi's task at hand is to dive deep into the first 10 We Jazz LPs, ranging from WJLP01 Bowman Trio released in 2016 to the 2018 release WJLP10 Alder Ego "II".

With the initial edition of any series comes the freedom and necessity of defining a new direction. We trusted Kaukolampi would be the right person to show us what the idea will be, and we were right. He premiered this piece at the We Jazz Festival back in 2018 and developed his ideas further during several studio sessions later on. The finished product opens things up with a bang and shows the value in going deep. Kaukolampi manages to distill new music from the source material, twisted and strecthed into dimensions beyond what is usually there. "Ambient Dub"? Perhaps at times. "Drone"? Maybe also. And then some.

To complete the idea, we invited the visionary graphic designer (and K-X-P drummer) Tomi Leppänen to "rework" the graphics of the source albums to construct the base of the design, which you see envelop the LP sleeve.

We wished for a new adventure, and we got one. Happy!

TRACK LISTING

1. Part I
2. Part II
3. Part III
4. Part IV
5. Part V
6. Part VI
7. Part VII
8. Part VIII
9. Part IX
10. Part X

Berlin-based Swedish dynamic duo of sax man Otis Sandsjö and bassist/producer Petter Eldh return with new music on We Jazz Records. Remember the hard hitting banger "Tremendoce" from Otis Sandsjö's "Y-OTIS 2"? Well, the saga continues, and the new directions are surprising to say the least, just as we like it!!! Some proper late night / early morning out there vibes on this one, and the flip is yet another step forward, bringing in Kathrin Pechlof on harp. Things are liquid, just as you would guess, but the whole consistency of the substance has flipped and evolved. A new sound. A new idea. Another new day in Mauerpark, Berlin.

TRACK LISTING

1. Tremendoce, Pt. 2 (feat. Petter Eldh, Jonas Kullhammar, Per & Texas & Johansson & Tilo Weber)
2. Tremendoce, Pt. 3 (feat. Petter Eldh, Tilo Weber & Dan Nicholls)
3. Skerry, Pt. 1 (feat. Petter Eldh, Kathrin Pechlof & Dan Nicholls)
4. Skerry, Pt. 2 (feat. Petter Eldh)

Tampo

Keumgang / Tampomambo

Tampo is a mystic sextet from somewhere out of the hustle and bustle of the busy Helsinki scene. They operate on a level of their own, performing latin jazz inspired by cumbia and mambo. This 7" single release by We Jazz Records features two high calibre cuts, "Keumgang" and "Tampomambo", making this one a solid choice for all lovers of psychedelic music with character.

TRACK LISTING

1. Keumgang
2. Tampomambo

Antti Lötjönen & Koma Saxo

Erzeben Strasse / Erzeben Koma

Helsinki bassist Antti Lötjönen follows up his 2020 We Jazz Records debut LP with a new 7" introducing a fresh version of key album cut "Erzeben Strasse" and throws in a wild treatment by Petter Eldh's Koma Saxo on the flipside. "Erzeben Strasse" presents Lötjönen's Quintet East lineup in fine form, swinging steadily but also adding enough sideways movement to blur the lines just a little bit. The band features a stellar Finnish cast in Lötjönen (bass), Verneri Pohjola (trumpet), Mikko Innanen (baritone sax), Jussi Kannaste (tenor sax) and Joonas Riippa (drums).

The Koma Saxo treatment of the track, dubbed here as "Erzeben Koma" is full of fire. Uplifting, a bit hectic, beat-driven and jubilant, Eldh's band of brothers double the ensemble heard on Side A, both sampling and adding new recording into the mix. The entire Koma Saxo live band is featured here: Eldh (bass/production), Otis Sandsjö (tenor sax), Jonas Kullhammar (tenor sax), Innanen (alto sax) and Christian Lillinger (drums). The modern sound of Helsinki meet Mauerpark Liquid Jazz.

TRACK LISTING

1. Erzeben Strasse (7" Edit)
2. Erzeben Koma

Eric Malmberg

Milda Döden Hämtar Oss Alla Till Slut

We Jazz Records is delighted to present the first ever vinyl release for two modern classic tracks by Swedish organist Eric Malmberg. Originally released in 2007 by the label Häpna on Malmberg's second solo album "Verklighet & Beat", the pair of tunes herein serve as proof of Malmberg's remarkable artistic vision, echoing both the pure pastoral beauty and the irresistible groove of his work. This release, part of the ongoing 7" series by We Jazz Records, follows the label's Artistic Director Matti Nives's 10+ years of obsession with the aforementioned Malmberg album after an initial chance encounter with the side A track on a WIRE Magazine compilation in 2007.

"Eric Malmberg's music is a small miracle. I don't want to call him a genius, because I don't want to jinx him. But I will say that he's a complete original, in addition to being a vastly talented musician. I will also say that his recordings and the two performances that I saw by Sagor & Swing merit a place on a short list of most enjoyed musical experiences of the last half decade. I could bleat about the quality of the work, but "most enjoyed" to me carries the stronger charge." – David Grubbs, New York, March 2007

"A special mention needs to go out to the phenomenal and totally bonkers 'Till minne av Lilly Lindström' a track which starts with a clean break, builds into dancefloor abusing Hammond-hammering mayhem and then ends up with lush string orchestrations and disco-lite sweeps. Insane and more enjoyable than you could possibly imagine - an album to totally lose yourself in, and one for anyone looking for something just that little different. Huge recommendation." – Boomkat

TRACK LISTING

1. Milda Döden Hämtar Oss Alla Till Slut
2. Till Minne Av Lilly Lindström

Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen

Live Recordings 2019-2020

The dynamic duo of tenor saxophonist Timo Lassy and drummer Teppo Mäkynen return with a double LP of live recordings captured in 2019 and 2020. The We Jazz Records release "Live Recordings 2019-2020" follows the duo's 2019 LP which was shortlisted for "Jazz Album Of the Year" at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards. While the studio album versions were studies in improvisational brevity, the live album lets the long-time collaborators really let loose and build memorable sonic narratives around the compositions. The album is produced and edited by Teppo Mäkynen, also known as a sought-after producer with the knack for looking at the big picture.

From the subtle minimalism of "Fallow" via the ambient of "Aero" to the riff-heavy groove of "Calling James", Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen breathe their music as one unit, building it based on a mutual trust as fellow musicians. Their duo shows have quickly become celebrated examples of what a long history of playing together can enable on stage when paired with the right mindset and a shared musical goal. This live album follows the ethos of both documenting what's happening and expanding on what was captured in the studio earlier.

TRACK LISTING

1. Fallow (Live)
2. Zomp (Live)
3. Liberty (Live)
4. Hypno (Live)
5. Aero (Live)
6. Kobi (Live)
7. Solution Black (Live)
8. Ecru (Live)
9. Telemagenta (Live)
10. Calling James (Live)


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