Kuva/ Photo: Junnu Lusa
Timo Lassy is one of the leading artists in the vivid Helsinki jazz scene. The composer and sax player was recently noted as a “Rising Star” in the veritable jazz bible Downbeat, and his quintet ensemble, the Timo Lassy Band, was dubbed “one of Europe’s sharpest bands” by The Sunday Times in the UK. Hot on the heels of the fourth Lassy LP to date, Live With Lassy (Schema 2014), the band has taken their no-BS cooking session on the road with remarkable results.
The Timo Lassy Band is top-notch all the way. The wurlitzer duties are carried out by Georgios Kontrafouris, Greece’s gift to the Helsinki scene, who turns the instrument into one of a vital organ in the operation. On double bass, the most sought-after Finnish bassist at the moment, Antti Lötjönen, keeps things solid, and the crunchy beat so central to Lassy’s rhythmically remarkable jazz vision is safe with Teppo “Teddy Rok” Mäkynen on drums and Abdissa “Mamba” Assefa on percussion.
The concept of jazz performance has strong rhythmic roots when considering the Timo Lassy Band. Their sonic base is in the 1950′s/60′s hard bop, soul jazz and latin jazz tradition, but the masterful execution and the progressive vision of all of the group’s players places the music firmly on the 21st century. Their jazz is easily approachable, yet remarkably deep at a closer look.
It is precisely this openness to both tradition and innovation, and the knack at combining the two that makes Timo Lassy Band a top draw in the current live jazz circuit. As a character, Timo Lassy embodies the rare kind of charisma of a contemporary jazz star. The content, the message, and the means to convey the both ensure that anyone looking for 100% pure high-quality contemporary jazz will be right at home with the Timo Lassy Band.
Constantly selling out shows in his native Finland, Lassy is on the verge of becoming a force to be reckoned with on the international jazz circuit as well. Timo Lassy Band includes members of several hard-hitting and well-proven ensembles, most notably The Five Corners Quintet, the most successful Finnish jazz oufit to date and also the alma mater of Lassy himself. Live, the Timo Lassy Band excels in getting into the mood of hard-swinging jazz with gusto galore. The band is brimming with innovation, making this music very much “the art of now”. No gimmicks needed here, this jazz is hot.