Photo: Sofia Mänttäri
OK:KO (former O. Saastamoisen Kvartetti) is a Finnish jazz band led by drummer Okko Saastamoinen. Saastamoinen has made a long journey from the active folk music scene in Haapavesi to the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki, where he has gotten the chance to take a deeper look into the tradition of jazz. In order to bring alive his own vision of jazz, Okko founded his first own jazz ensemble in the fall of 2015, and asked some great and unique player to join him to make the music really live.
In his compositions Saastamoinen leaves room for improvisation and allows the musicians shine as they take the music to a new trail while respecting the composition in question. This dialogue keeps the music fresh and makes it diverse and vivid.
“We aim to keep the band sound fresh and move from sensitive sound world to rough and grandiloquent atmosphere”, Saastamoinen states.
The influences the members bring to the compositions can be anything from the history of Western music. The common thread is trust, use of space and improvisation. OK:KO’s performances have been described as intensive experiences which awaken deep presence and images in the listener’s mind.
Norwegian record label AMP Music & Records saw the band at Oslo Jazz Festival in August 2016 and released their debut album Land E. in January 2017. OK:KO released their second album Syrtti in February 2019 with We Jazz Records.