Teemu Viinikainen Trio’s second album Hit It! was released by Finnish Prophone label on 29 January 2014. In addition to band leader, guitarist Teemu Viinikainen, the ensemble consists of bassist Ville Herrala and drummer Mika Kallio. The album is continuation to the band’s debut album, Nyt! released by Prophone in 2011.
Trio’s second album begin to take form during their tour in the beginning of 2013. Besides two tracks, the material on the album are Viinikainen’s own compositions. “I had composed new material for the trio. On the tour we got to try them out in front of the audience too”, Viinikainen comments the album making process. In October 2013 a large number of new songs were taken to Markku Veijonsuo’s Varistoteles studio and some of them ended up on the album too. “In addition to finished songs, we played free improvisation, which gave us lots of good ideas for compositions.”
Hit It! album emphasizes the energetic side of the band more than the debut. “I see the new album as a step forward in trio’s working”, Viinikainen states. The album was named after the song “Hit It!”, a fast blues piece by Viinikainen, of which work title was Häh, täh, hä? (Huh, what?). The fourth piece “Kiitti J”, a song inspired by pianist legend Keith Jarret, took a new shape at the studio along with some other compositions. The album also includes Joe Zawinul’s classic “Directions” and Duke Ellington’s “This Ain’t What They Used to Be”.
Critically acclaimed Teemu Viinikainen has performed with several international jazz artists such as Joe Lovano, Vince Mendoza, Randy Brecker and Tim Hagans. According to well-known jazz critic and author Stuart Nicholson Viinikainen is “among the top twenty jazz guitarists in the world”.
“Altough expression, swing and virtuosity are a no-brainer in Teemu Viinikainen’s play, the uppermost impressions of him are a strong presence and sensitivity”, says Viinikainen’s long-time music colleague, saxophonist Jukka Perko.