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Posts Tagged ‘Helsinki

End of the year and everybody presents a best of the past twelve months, oh, or even a best of the decade, 2010 motherfucker and if you wanna be really fresh, grub out some christmas records. All that shitty songs, the torture of christmas in a Soul, Reggae or whatever version, hooow sweeeeeeeet. To be honest, I can´t imagine to get bored more. Instead I continue with some good music and hope that this time of the year will end very soon. Christmas is a bitch.

Vibesman Isiah Stance, his bassist brother Dwayne and the phenomenal drummer Byron Breaks – the legends are back, kickin the Funk to the Jazz. The Stance Brothers are with one foot in the past and the other firmly placed on the kick drum, countless of hours spent jamming at their dusty garage. The trio’s unfaltering will to excel in playing funk-influenced garage jazz comes second only to their passion for shooting hoops at the nearby basketball court.

At least that is the story Teppo “Teddy Rok” Mäkynen tells about The Stance Brothers, the drummer and live band leader of the globe-trotting Five Corners Quintet, the visionary behind the late Teddy Rok Seven, and the producer of such Finnish jazz co-luminaries as Jukka Eskola and Timo Lassy. His idea was to make “the holy grail of beat junkies”, the kind of a record which you would love to sample but which would at the same time sound as a “real” instrumental funk/jazz album from the early 70s. The music positions itself somewhere between funk and instrumental hip hop. Jazz is very much present, but not in the leading role. But this is no retro-funk at all. The breaks are fresh and sound almost as cut-ups (maybe they are), and the grooves are infectious and timeless.

The Stance Brothers’ “Kind Soul”, has all the requisite breakbeat fundamentals: snares that sound like they’re being played in a basketball gym; closely microphoned kick-drums that thump with pleasing tightness; and an extremely minimal sprinkling of hi-hats.

Funk, soul, exotica, early-’70s jazz, and hip-hop all come together in a brew that is as finger-popping and natural as it is savvy.

Roll Call!

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Urbanology is early, but I don´t think you´ll have a problem with it. Today a fine jazz record from The Five Corners Quintet from Helsinki, another proof for the thesis that Scandinavia is leading the way when it comes to jazz. The Quintet describes themself as a ” postmodern jazz outfit influenced by early sixties straight ahead and latin jazz. Led by producer Tuomas Kallio the Five Corners Quintet is a new extension of the highly acclaimed Nuspirit Helsinki collective.”

The FCQ released several EPs before this full length record and sales of those singles should quickly reach over 12,000, all singles and the record together sold more than 40.000 copies worldwide. Not bad for a jazz group in 2005, but “chasin´the Jazz gone by” even spent 11 weeks in the Finnish album Top-40 chart. What is the secret behind this success? The FCQ´s goal is

“to set an example of how dance floor friendly contemporary production can fruitfully meet the musical craftsmanship of the past, creating music that sounds as hip as the classic jazz records but is at the same time structurally polished and easily accessible music of today. Not housey nu-jazz, but jazz in the classic modernist spirit.”

And they reach this goal for sure, recorded a dense atmospheric jazz album, opened by the gorgeous voice of Okou with a graceful blues, followed up by vampy Bossa-grooves, 60ties soundtrack feeling and the incomparably jazz-singer Mark Murphy performs also on some songs.

Maybe also their mix of old and new musicians is the key to success. Young trumpet phenomenon Jukka Eskola, tenor sax Eero Koivistoinen (around since the sixties), drummer talent Teppo Makynen, Severi Pyysalo a Blue Note vibraphone veteran – in the studio the Five Corners Quintet “is a contemporary project dictated by producer Tuomas Kallio and gathering separately the right people for each song from a pool of musicians that are some of the finest players in the Finnish and international jazz scene.”

Can you expect more? Yeah, if you have the chance to see them live, take this chance – they´re awesome, the Devil kicks!


always open minded! feel free to leave a comment if you like or dislike the music, the review or just this blog in general. make the monologue a dialogue! (and receiving some responses keeps me motivated)

normally I try to post new stuff once a week, quality not quantity, so the front page shows you the posts of the last month, but there is a lot more to discover, just click your way thru the older entries.

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