New jazz releases for the spring

Finnish jazz is blossoming together with the waking spring and there's albums aplenty waiting to be discovered by the eager listener. We took a look at the new and upcoming jazz releases.

Captained by one of the torch-bearers of the Finnish improvised music, Esa Pietilä, quartet Liberty Ship released their second album on 5 March. The album, entitled The Wide Open Suite & Noises at Sea, is a follow-up to the group’s praised debut album Approaching.

Kari Ikonen Trio returns with Beauteous Tales and Offbeat Stories, which will be released by German label Ozella Music in May 2015. The trio’s previous album Bright was chosen on the lists of the best jazz albums of 2013 by German JAZZTHETIK magazine and American Something Else Reviews. 

Internationally renowned pianist Iiro Rantala (who received the Export Emma Award last February in honour of his successful career) has joined forces with another distinguished musician, saxophone player Jukka Perko. The duo’s album It Takes Two to Tango will be released on April 24 via ACT Music. Before It Takes Two to Tango (which is Perko's debut for ACT Music), Jukka Perko can be heard playing on German drummer Wolfgang Haffner's new album Kind of Cool, which is out now on ACT Music.

Olavi Louhivuori, the frontman of Oddarrang released his debut solo album Existence at the end of the year via Eclipse Music. With Existence Louhivuori combines progressive and ambient electronic music with powerful drumming. Louhivuori played all instruments, produced and has composed all the music for the album.

Helsinki/Berlin based Elifantree delivers an experimental musical trip on the border between pop and improvised music. Elifantree’s third album Movers and Shakers opens up a new sound world that leads the band exploring electroacoustic frameworks, polyrhythmic layers and synth sounds.

Song for a New Decade features Finnish saxophonist Mikko Innanen, one of the most compelling new voices in European improvised music, with two American legends of the music: bassist William Parker, who rose to prominence during New York´s loft jazz era of the 1970s, and drummer Andrew Cyrille, who is one of the elders of improvised music going back to the early 1960s. 

Hati Hati is the result of Eero Koivistoinen’s latest ensemble, Eero Koivistoinen Quartet. On the album the quartet plays mostly Eero's own compositions, which are based on modern jazz tradition but with personal angles. Koivistoinen's long connection with Africa shows in the group's rhythmic expression. The album is released by Svart Records.

Aki Rissanen // Jussi Lehtonen’s Quartet with Dave Liebman is the first recording of the three-album contract between pianist Aki Rissanen and German record label Ozella Music. In addition to Finns Rissanen, Jussi Lehtonen and bassist Jori Huhtala, the album features American saxophone legend Dave Liebman.

Fredriksson Music, the small but active high-quality jazz label, is putting out two exciting debut albums: Jori Huhtala 5 by bassist Jori Huhtala and his quintet featuring top-notch musicians was released in January, and Kasperi Sarikoski & Nuance's album Essence which will be out in Finland on 17 April.

Tenors Of Kalma, the new group formed by guitarist Kalle Kalima, genre-hopping multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor and drummer Joonas Riippa have released their debut album Electric Willow in February via ENJA Yellow Bird Records. The album fuses jazz with electronic pop.