Alexi Tuomarila piano, Eero Koivistoinen sax, Jussi Lehtonen drs, Jori Huhtala bass
Eero Koivistoinen has had many different ensembles on his long career as a jazz musician, this is the latest.
The quartet plays mostly Eero's own compositions - new and older. The music is based on modern jazz tradition but has personal angles. Koivistoinen's long connection with Africa shows in the group's rhythmic expression. Eero has worked in many different African countries as a musician, producer and educator. On quartet's program can be heard also hints of Finnish folk music.
Koivistoinen received the very first Georgie Award (1967) of the newly founded Finnish Jazz Federation. Since then, Koivistoinen has won several competitions for musicians and composers both abroad and in Finland. In the early 1970s Koivistoinen studied in the Sibelius Academy and Berklee School of Music in Boston, USA.
Eero is one of the UMO's founder members. He was appointed Artistic Director of the UMO for a two-year period (1996 - 98). As a conductor, he is appreciated also outside Finland; he has conducted in countries such as Germany, Norway, Denmark, Hungary, Estonia, Lithuania, Iceland and South Africa.
Koivistoinen's sizeable list of works includes hundreds of works, instrumental music for ensembles of various sizes, and vocal music. Among recent larger works is eg Round about Monk, an orchestral suite on the themes of Thelonious Monk arranged for a symphony orchestra, commissioned by RSO (Radio Symphony Orchestra), multimedia work Baltic Sea Blues for Sinfonietta and jazz trio commissioned by Kymi Sinfonietta and CD album of children songs commissioned by UMO Jazz Orchestra.
Eero has been collaborating with many legendary music makers like Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Tom Harrell, Randy Brecker, Gil Evans, John Scofield, Ron McClure, Jack DeJohnette etc. www.eerokoivistoinen.com
Alexi Tuomarila studied first classical piano from an early age. Later Alexi studied at the Royal Conservatory in Brussels where graduated in 1999. The same year Alexi Tuomarila Quartet won the trophy for best band at Jazz Hoeilaart competition in Belgium. 2001 Alexi got the 1st prize in Monaco jazz soloist competition and his quartet won later Tremplin competition in Avignon, France. Alexi has been recently playing with Thomas Stanko with whom he has been touring in Europe and USA.
"...focusing the spotlight on an enormously talented and creative young musician from Finland...Tuomarila is a distinctive and important new voice in jazz" Jazzwise
"That kind of maturity in a musician is really more the exeption than the rule...I'm definitely exited about the future of this piano player" Brad Mehldau
Jori Huhtala graduated 2013 as a bass player from the Jazz Department of Sibelius Academy. He is very talented and already important musician in Finnish jazz circles. He performs with a numerous groups, for example Kvalda, Big Blue, Raoul Björkenheim Ecstacy, Panu Savolainen Proprius etc. Huhtala has been collaborating also with David Liebman, Tim Hagans, Billy Hart, Dick Oatts, Jukkis Uotila and Tim Ries. Jori is also an active composer.
Drummer Jussi Lehtonen is a steady figure in the finnish jazz scene, energetic, swinging and sensitive musician with a lot of experience in live performances with small and big bands, recording and education.
Some recent performances of Lehtonen are with Dave Liebman Trio, Randy Brecker Quintet, Tim Hagans, Bob Mintzer, Dick Oatts, Mats Holmqvist Big Band feat Dave Liebman, Tim Ries and Bernard Fowler (music of Rolling Stones), Jukkis Uotila Band and Ulf Wakenius
Some recent recordings of Lehtonen are his second own solo album "This Time" (Prophone Records) featuring Dutch guitarist Jesse Van Ruller, Swedish saxist Johan Hörlen’s new album, George Kontrafouris’ upcoming album, and with a few other finnish groups. Lehtonen is teaching at the Sibelius-Academy Jazz Department. He is an artistic director at Koko Jazz Club www.kokojazzclub.com Lehtonen has been playing also with Koivistoinen's different groups and performed with him in Bali Jazz Festival, Indonesia and at New York' Dizzy's Club Coca-Cola 2008.
"Jussi Lehtonen is a 360 degree musician. He does it all...plays any style, writes and arranges amazing tunes and in the tradition of many classic jazz drummers is a true bandleader. His CD First Born is just terrific and gets ***** ! We'll be hearing a lot more Jussi Lehtonen" Randy Brecker www.jussilehtonen.net