Jussi Lehtonendrummer/ composer/ teacher
Jussi Lehtonen (b. 1977) appeared to the jazz scene of Helsinki in 1997 as he started his studies at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory where he moved to the jazz department of Sibelius Academy in fall 2000. During the last years of 1990s Lehtonen played in many bands, such as altosaxophonist Janne Huttunen's Uncle Bop and Janne Huttunen's and guitarist Mikko Kosonen's The Homer.
In 2001 Lehtonen recorded with the Kaisa Kulmala Trio and with pianist Tuomo Prättälä and bassist Lauri Porra in the Bonksters-band. The first recording for the drummer was though already in 1999 on guitarist Tuomo Dahlblom's debut album that was however released in 2002, in the same year as Helsinki Sessions by U-Street All Stars.
Besides the busy U-Street All Stars band, Lehtonen has had time and energy to play also in other bands, for example in Kannaste-Ojajärvi Quartet and bassist Lasse Lindgren's Brotherhood. The first own project for the drummer was a nonet called In the Spirit of Jaco Pastorius that performed the music of the American bass legend Jaco Pastorius. Bassist Timo Hirvonen, who also played in the nonet, has performed with Lehtonen also in Jussi Lehtonen Quartet and High Five -group. Lehtonen has featured UMO Jazz Orchestra once in a while as well.
Lehtonen, who masters creatively different jazzstyles, has became a really popular musician in recent years and he has recorded with both the young and the older generation of Finnish jazz, from Teemu Viinikainen to Eero Koivistoinen. In addition to the albums of U-Street All Stars, Lehtonen has composed music to i.a. the album of Kannaste-Ojajärvi Quartet. Besides performing, Lehtonen has since graduating been teaching jazzrhythmics and ensemble work in Sibelius Academy.
Besides Lehtonen's own groups he has recently actively performed with i.a. Jukkis Uotila Band, Severi Pyysalo & The Mokners, Eero Koivistoinen Quartet, Mikko Karjalainen Fellowship and Koko Jazz Orchestra that Lehtonen formed together with Jussi Fredriksson and Timo Hirvonen. Lehtonen works also as the artistic leader of Koko Jazz Club. Lehtonen has performed also with many internationally known artists, such as Dave Liebman, Randy Brecker, Bob Mintzer, Tim Hagans, Jerry Bergonzi and Wayne Krantz.