|Performer||Aki Rissanen // Jussi Lehtonen Quartet with Dave Liebman|
|Where recorded||M1 -studio, Yleisradio|
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, Lehtonen and bassist Jori Huhtala, the album features American saxophone legend Dave Liebman.
The album will be released in Germany in early 2015.
The new recording gives an impressive 10-track sample of the vitality and high quality of today’s Finnish jazz music, and it also marks the high point in the long co-operation between Liebman and the Finnish musicians. The album features compositions by Rissanen, Lehtonen and Liebman, plus two pieces composed jointly by the whole quartet. Apart from one loan track, the album consists of original compositions that, despite drawing from the tradition, probe new paths and embrace the now.
“It’s still challenging for a Finnish jazz musician to publish their music abroad”, say Rissanen and Lehtonen. “We have released our albums before on an American and a French label, but only now, with German Ozella, does it seem that co-operation will open doors to the international jazz scene. On the first of the three recordings, our long-standing dream to record an album with the legendary Dave Liebman came true. His style of expression has had a huge impact on us both since we were students. Lehtonen had performed with Liebman several times before, which encouraged us to ask if he was willing to record an album with us in Yleisradio’s traditional M1 studio in spring 2013. Liebman’s summarised the result with words ‘'fantastic record, so exciting and deep shit!’”
Pianist Aki Rissanen (b. 1980) can be counted among the cream of Finnish jazz pianists. The Kuopio-native belongs to numerous Finnish groups, including Aki Rissanen Trio, Aki Rissanen – Verneri Pohjola Duo, Verneri Pohjola Quartet, Mikko Hassinen Elektro GT and Esa Pietilä Liberty Ship. Rissanen is also a member in such international groups as Aki Rissanen – Robin Verheyen – Markku Ounaskari Aleatoric, White Light Quartet, Belfin Quartet, Thalassa, Frozen Gainsbourg with Mikko Innanen and Röd/Blå with Pekka Tuppurainen. He plays frequently as a sideman with both Finnish and international jazz artists, and has toured in most European countries, plus in the US, China, and on the African continent. Rissanen has already collected a number of trophies and acknowledgements, from Swiss Montreux Jazz Festival, Parisian La Defence Festival and two victories in the Finnish qualifying heat for the inter-Scandinavian Young Nordic Jazz Comets competition, to mention a few. The pianist’s latest album, "Aleatoric", came out on Eclipse Music in spring 2013.
Drummer Jussi Lehtonen (b. 1977) is a Tampere native and one of the key figures in the Finnish jazz scene. Lehtonen is perhaps best-known from U-Street All Stars, a group that released their two recordings on the legendary Blue Note Records. He has been a strong presence in a number of other noted Finnish jazz groups. In 2008 Lehtonen came out with his debut album Firstborn, which was followed up by This Time in 2013. On the latter, Lehtonen’s Finnish band was complemented by Dutch guitarist Jesse van Ruller. Today, Lehtonen wields drumsticks in Jukkis Uotila’s, Johan Hörlén’s, Eero Koivistonen’s and Severi Pyysalo’s groups. He is the third member in the Koko Jazz Orchestra with bassist Timo Hirvonen and pianist Jussi Fredriksson, the house band of Koko Jazz Club in Helsinki where Lehtonen acts as an artistic director with Hirvonen. Recent years have seen Lehtonen perform regularly with such renowned stars of the jazz world as Tim Hagans, Randy Brecker and Marc Bernstein.