Tales is the 2015 debut album by quintet Fifth Avenue.
Started in 2011, Fifth Avenue draws heavily from the urban pulse of New York City and, indeed, the city’s buzz, cultural richness and versatility are firmly present in the band’s music. The compositions are penned by the three founding members: pianist Tuomas J. Turunen, U.S.-based guitarist Olli Hirvonen and saxophonist Ville Vannemaa, each of whom have built strong ties to the New York scene either through studies or gigging. The group’s nimble rhythm section is composed of bassist Teemu Åkerblom and drummer Mikko Arlin.
The debut is built on the basis of strongly melodic, streamlined, modern NY jazz sound. Recorded live in one room, the musicians’ easy and spontaneous communication comes splendidly across from the album. Fifth Avenue is about layered rhythmic patterns and rich harmonies, infused with compelling swing and classy, straight-ahead modern feels. The album is mixed and mastered by sound engineer Dave Darlington, a veritable veteran in the NY scene with more than 30 years of experience, including collaborations with Sting, Whitney Houston and Herbie Hancock. “Fifth Avenue sound very international and the band members don’t pale in comparison with international, rising jazz stars,” says Darlington.
The album title, “Tales”, refers to little musical stories that the group creates collectively throughout the recording. Indeed, one of the album’s raison d’être is to pay homage to the welcoming, never-ending beat of New York City. “We were inspired by the everyday life and spirit of the city,” tells pianist Tuomas J. Turunen.