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WE JAZZ

Otis Sandsjö

Y-OTIS TRE

    Berlin-based Swedish tenor saxophonist Otis Sandsjö returns with his third album Y-OTIS TRE, which finds Sandsjö in close collaboration with his long-time working partner and friend, bassist/producer Petter Eldh, and Dan Nicholls, the keyboardist of the Y-OTIS live band and a solo artist on his own right. Composed by the three and produced by Eldh & Sandsjö, Y-OTIS TRE lives up to its name ("tre" means three in Swedish) and stands strong in the continuum of layercaked liquid jazz, a staple of the Eldh/Sandsjö production duo lauded for their string of releases as Y-OTIS and Koma Saxo.

    While recognisable in form, Y-OTIS TRE adds new dimensions to what has come before. Borne out of hours of tripped-out studio jams by Sandsjö & Eldh, Y-OTIS TRE feels natural, neon, 3D, at times laser sharp, at times gooey like jelly, and at all times ripe with ideas that would make albums on their own. Golden riffs are taken, twisted, thrown away, then recycled, and always evolving.

    Perhaps evolution is key here, as Y-OTIS reuses and crossrefers its own ideas but never exactly repeats. The music has a mixtape-like DNA, and it seems to be breeding and multiplying at each beat. In color terms, Y-OTIS TRE is more RGB than CMYK – that is, it might appear unrealistically bright and full of tones not found in the natural world. But when you listen to the music closely, you'll likely find it acoustic to the bone. There's no illusion: hearing the band live tells you what Y-OTIS is all about. It's a live band turned studio tool, morphed back into a live band. Or something like that anyway.

    Putting a tag onto this music feels a bit like trying to hold a very colorful, somewhat thick liquid substance on the palm of your hand. You can see it, feel it, but never fully pinpoint just what's it made of. But it works, so best just to enjoy the ride.


    TRACK LISTING

    A1. Oomy
    A2. Midi Day Job, Pt. 4
    A3. Pluralregn
    A4. Perla / Moln
    A5. Clicks 2023
    A6. Earrings
    B1. Unknow / Slick
    B2. Sol 94
    B3. Rhubarbs
    B4. Orkaneon
    B5. Loomy
    B6. Donatt Gonatt

    Drummer Tilo Weber joins forces with bassist Petter Eldh (Koma Saxo) and Elias Stemeseder, who plays harpsichord and keys here on Weber's We Jazz debut, "Tesserae", to be released 21 April 2023. The three musicians plus guests present a unique jazz trio sound for all times, without boundaries. Weber, based in Berlin, came to the attention of We Jazz Records with his his highly inspired drum work on Otis Sandsjö's Y-OTIS, and has since then also been awarded with the prestigious Deutscher Jazz Preis for the arrangement of the year in 2022.

    "Tesserae" is the work of not only Tilo Weber the drummer, but also the visionary "full stack" artist on the rise, and the entire record consists of new, original compositions by Weber. Eldh and Stemeseder, both also part of the first incarnation of the Y-OTIS live band and the first album, are close musical partners to Weber, and the whole album brims with natural innovation and musical joy shared among the three. Each of the versatile musicians also move beyond their main instruments on the album, with Weber bringing on the vibraphone, Stemeseder tackling the celesta(!), and Eldh picking about acoustic guitar. It's easy to hear that all three are keen on going beyond what would be expected while creating this music.

    The harpsichord dominates the first spin, as the very sound of the instrument sounds so delightfully alien to the modern trio setting. Indeed, "Tesserae" sounds at once baroque and futuristic. Flute, played on two tracks by Anna-Lena Schnabel and ney by Bastian Duncker on one selection, add levels that make the sound float at almost otherworldly dimensions (check "Sacre Sacre" for a case in point). The lead single "Nacre Nacre" introduces the trio in an apt way, snapping with an irresistible groove while moving not only from left to right, but also forward on a 3D spectrum of its own.

    These added dimensions are there to be found for the repeated listens, suggesting "Tesserae" is an enduring album with plenty of mileage. The whole kaleidoscope of the sound reveals itself slowly, yet the impact is an instant one. Making something seemingly minimal turn out so colorful is no mean feat, and Tilo Weber & co pull it off here with remarkable ease. The album has a flow that grabs you from the first notes and builds monuments from there on.

    Tilo Weber says:

    

"I was writing a lot of different music for various ensembles and instruments over the last 3 years. When I started this Trio I wanted it to represent a strong compositional trademark besides the improvisational impact of the players. Since Petter and Elias are both rhythmically versatile and experienced, I wanted to challenge them and collected all my musical odd-metre sketches and rhythmic patterns that I found interesting.

    I have always dreamt about forming my own trio, but never really wanted to add another piano trio to the endless sea of them already out there. One day Elias told me about his harpsichord and that set this in motion. I had written some musical sketches for a trio setting, but wasn't hearing a piano playing this music. The sound of the harpsichord changed everything and inspired me to finish all tunes.

    The music of this album might be the most "drummer-like" music I have written and released under my own name so far. My goal with these pieces is definitely to disrupt the conceptional composition with improvisations. Some pieces are connected to each other, because they share the same musical material. That's why they also have "related" titles. For example the bass line of 'Nacre Nacre' and 'Sacre Sacre' are the same but in different tempos. 'Sacre Sacre' is somehow a recycled version of "Nacre Nacre" and it creates a totally different atmosphere. 'Entrope Nestled' is somehow recycled from 'Time Traveler's Vessel'. The melody on the celesta is written out for the opening track of the album and lay foundation for the group improvisation in 'Entrope Nestled'. Then there are some conceptional pieces such as 'In Rapture and Rubble', that has a melody which is a transcription of the pitches made by water dripping into a cistern.

    A lot of my inspiration comes from literature. I mostly read nonfiction and poems. The compositional aspect within written language fascinates me. Besides the actual meaning of the words and their power, there is always an ambiguous shadow which somehow reflects our irrational world.

    The mystic nature of Rainer Maria Rilke's poems inspired me a lot. The ambiguity of his words stimulates the brain and you start reflecting your life and how you are positioned in the world. Following that tarin of thought, the track titles of the album assume the form of a poem. I asked Katie O'Riley to write a poem about mother pearl (nacre). The theme also inspired the album's title, 'Tesserae', because you mostly come across nacre when it's formed in a specific way.

    When you watch nacre under the microscope you can see it's made of different layers, which almost look chaotic. That reminds me a lot of how we recorded the music of the album. We kept adding layers with synthesizers, guitar, vibraphone and additional flute and sax solos in a pretty random way and a short amount of time. I love exploring a creative process which becomes somehow irrational. Live, we always start a new process with these compositions, and that takes us into new territory each time around."

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Time Traveler's Vessel (feat. Petter Eldh & Elias Stemeseder)
    2. Worn Not Weary (feat. Petter Eldh & Elias Stemeseder)
    3. Nacre Nacre (feat. Petter Eldh & Elias Stemeseder)
    4. In Epitaxy (feat. Petter Eldh & Elias Stemeseder)
    5. Entrope Nestled (feat. Petter Eldh & Elias Stemeseder)
    6. In Rapture And Rubble (feat. Petter Eldh & Elias Stemeseder)
    7. Sacre Sacre (feat. Petter Eldh, Elias Stemeseder & Anna-Lena Schnabel)
    8. Soul Redoubled (feat. Petter Eldh, Elias Stemeseder, Anna-Lena Schnabel & Bastian Duncker)

    Finnish bassist Antti Lötjönen returns with his second Quintet East album on We Jazz Records. With Verneri Pohjola on trumpet, Mikko Innanen and Jussi Kannaste on saxes, and Joonas Riippa on drums, Quintet East is a hard-hitting ensemble of Helsinki scene A-listers. The new release sees the quintet work with Lötjönen's inspired new music with remarkable spirit, spreading out on a quest for new sounds and ideas, and returning to base with a fresh batch of acoustic creative music, wild to the bone even when sounding completely in control.

    Circus/Citadel is essentially a coherent album, rather than a series of loosely connected compositions. There's plenty of diversity within Lötjönen's compositions and the band's dynamics, yet it all flows into one effortlessly, creating a suite of sorts, even outside of the title composition which consists of three parts. During the course of the album, the quintet often gets together in smaller formations: in trios and duos of different combinations of the players. The music breathes and maintains its energy at all times, leaving plenty of headroom for the all-out quintet "attacks" when needed. It all comes together in a shape that feels unified and cyclical, leaving the listener hungry for repeated listens in order to get deeper into the many layers found within.

    Antti Lötjönen says:

    "These compositions vary in terms of form and density, with each player having enough room to re-invent and expand on the music within the pieces. I wrote this music over a relatively brief time span. This, I think, is something you can also hear on the album, as the temporal closeness of the ideas brings with it a certain kind of unity. The world we live in sometimes feels like and absurd circus, from which you need to get away from to get new ideas and energy. Everyone needs their citadel, whatever it may be. This pairing of the two words Circus/Citadel is inspired by a poem by the Romanian-born German-language poet Paul Celan (1920–1970)."


    TRACK LISTING

    1. Circus/Citadel, Pt. I (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)
    2. Circus/Citadel, Pt. II (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)
    3. Circus/Citadel, Pt. III (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)
    4. Ode To The Undone (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)
    5. Defenestration (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)
    6. (for) Better People (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)
    7. It Goes On. (feat. Mikko Innanen, Jussi Kannaste, Verneri Pohjola & Joonas Riippa)

    Composer Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen presents his Nonet formation on We Jazz Records. Their debut album Tigers Are Better Looking is released 3 Feb and the ensemble features internationally renowned Finnish clarinetist Antti Sarpila, plus a strong cast of Helsinki-based musicians from several of the top Finnish groups.

    Based on the writings of British-Caribbean author Jean Rhys (1890–1979), the 6-track album is a melancholy, intimate chamber jazz creation. Laurell's music swings, yet he doesn't stop there, but moves further to paint an original, richly-toned sonic image with the highly potent Nonet.

    Laurell states Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis's "Water Babies" and Charles Mingus among the key musical influences of his compositions on this album. Through Rhys's text, Laurell finds a special sense of detachment and melancholy evident in his new material. Antti Sarpila's masterful clarinet provides the icing on the cake, floating high above the clouds of sound.

    TRACK LISTING

    1. Tigers Are Better Looking
    2. At The Villa D'Or
    3. Wide Sargasso Sea
    4. Let Them Call It Jazz
    5. Till September Petronella
    6. Temps Perdi

    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

    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

    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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