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WE JAZZ

Uusi Aika is a fresh new ensemble from Finland. Their self-titled debut album will be released by We Jazz Records on 25 November 2022. The band's music could be described as introspective and meditative, but that's only a part of the story. The instrumentation is acoustic and their sound organic to the bone, but the music's slowly unfolding character brings to mind some deep abstract electronic music or experimental dub explorations at times. That is, there's power just under the surface, just beautifully out of focus.

Otto Eskelinen says: "Lately I have been playing mostly folk music and using traditional instruments, such as ancient flutes. Now I felt that I wanted to play the saxophone again, and to do it in a small group setting, while searching for new compositional approaches and also ways of playing together with others. I wanted to create a band that would play something connected to free jazz, but with a distinctly melodic approach. I wanted the sound of the band to be gentle and peaceful, all acoustic. The main inspirations here stem from the history of Japanese sound aesthetics, new age, early 20th century art music and jazz giants such as Lester Young and Jan Garbarek."

Uusi Aika has already debuted live in Helsinki, where their performance at Odysseus Festival this summer was met with remarkable enthusiasm.

TRACK LISTING

1. Gudrid
2. Kaksi Puuta
3. Ajelehtivat Pilvet
4. Uusi Aika
5. Lumikenkä
6. Distances
7. Henget

Designers is a new trio by Joachim Florent (double bass), Will Guthrie (drums) and Aki Rissanen (piano). Florent and Guthrie are based in Nantes, France, Rissanen in Helsinki, Finland, and their debut album on We Jazz Records presents a band with highly original, forward-reaching sound that builds on the long tradition of the jazz piano trio, updating it successfully.

TRACK LISTING

1. Lebanon
2. Moulindjek
3. Procession
4. Folk Song
5. Engrenages
6. Point Ligne Sur Plan
7. Tintinabulisme
8. White Keys

Emma Salokoski & Ilmiliekki Quartet

Joulu, Joulu, Jul

Ilmiliekki Quartet and vocalist Emma Salokoski team up for a Christmas album We Jazz Records. Includes 10 stunning xmas vocal jazz gems sung in Finnish and Swedish, featuring three fantastic originals. Here's to better xmas listening.

TRACK LISTING

1. Lahjattoman Joulu
2. Gläns över Sjö Och Strand
3. Jouluaamu
4. Natten Före Aftonen
5. När Det Lider Mot Jul / Det Strålar En Stjärna
6. En Etsi Valtaa Loistoa
7. Varpunen Jouluaamuna
8. Jouluyö, Juhlayö
9. Pieni Rumpalipoika
10. Hymni: Nyt Tahdon Käydä Vastaan

Carl Stone

We Jazz Reworks, Vol. 2

We Jazz Reworks is an idea that repurposes some of the label's output 10 albums at a time. That is, the label invites producers whose music they love on board, and one by one, they tackle 10 albums worth of source material, of which they are free to use as much or as little as they choose. The series evolves chronologically, so this volume being number two, the source material is pulled from We Jazz LPs numbers 11 through 20. The artist has complete freedom.

Volume 2 in the series happens with Carl Stone, a legendary figure in creative music. His career spans decades of unlimited musical innovation. Stone's recent output on Unseen Worlds, the label who has also been instrumental in issuing some of his remarkable earlier work, ranks among the most original art of our time and renders notions such as "genre" virtually meaningless.

Here, We Jazz originals by Terkel Nørgaard, OK:KO, Jonah Parzen-Johnson and more are met here with a fresh sense of discovery, spun around and delivered ready for the turntable once again.

Carl Stone says:

"It was wonderful that We Jazz gave me carte blanche to work with any materials from the set of ten releases in its catalog. This freedom to work with everything could have been a mixed blessing though, as it could be a challenge to try to deal with so much musical information. In the end I did what I almost always do: Let my intuition be my guide and to seize upon any musical items that seemed to fit into an overall approach."

"To make a new piece I usually start with an extended period of what really is just playing, the way a child plays with toys. Experimentation without necessary expectation, leading to (hopefully) discovery of things of musical interest, then figuring out a way to craft and shape these into a structured piece of music. Each track uses a different approach, which I found along the way during this play period."

This conceptual approach becomes complete with the design, in which album graphics are treated in a similar fashion, reworking what's there. This time around, the artwork is reinvented by Tuomo Parikka, a regular cover collage contributor for the We Jazz Magazine.

TRACK LISTING

1. Umi
2. Sasagin
3. Coraloense
4. Hippo
5. Omar
6. Cut

This is a document of a band that does not exist anymore. They once appeared at the Sonic Transmissions festival in Austin, TX, and left behind this live recording. It rips. There will be no further activities for this group and they are not available for interviews.

TRACK LISTING

1. I (Live)
2. II (Live)
3. III (Live)
4. IV (Live)
5. V (Live)
6. VI (Live)
7. VII (Live)

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

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)

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


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