A NEW RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE:
"Jouni Järvelä Group: A GRAND DAY OUT (LIVE) (JJMCD-07)
"One of Finland's premiere saxophonists, Jouni Järvelä doesn't release albums that often. When he does, the musical results are outstanding, like on this effort that was compiled from several live performances during the Finland tour in 2005." (Fimic)
Finnish saxophonist and composer Jouni Järvelä has released his second CD as a leader. Following the highly-acclaimed debut record "Lento" (1999), the new outstanding record by the Jouni Järvelä Group is called "a Grand day out (live)". The live recording was made during the band's tour of Finland in April 2005.
"A Grand day out (live)" features - along with Jouni Järvelä's magnificent playing on soprano, alto, and the rare C-melody saxophones - the most prominent of Finnish musical talents: Samuli Mikkonen on piano and synthesizers, Marzi Nyman on guitars and Lasse Lindgren on electric bass and fretless acoustic bass guitar. The amazing interaction of the group is accented by the pre-eminent leading European drummer, Norwegian Audun Kleive.
The compositions on the record are for most part by Järvelä and Mikkonen. This record is a fantastic chance to get to witness in unedited live performances the wide variety of Jouni Järvelä Group's highly personal compositions, soaring improvisations and open communication, with moods ranging from rough to fragile.
ALSO AVAILABLE AGAIN: the critically acclaimed debut record of Jouni Järvelä Group: "Lento"
JOUNI JÄRVELÄ GROUP
with AUDUN KLEIVE
Jouni Järvelä , soprano, alto and C-melody saxophones
Samuli Mikkonen, piano and synthesizers
Markus "Marzi" Nyman, guitars
Lasse Lindgren, bass
Audun Kleive, drums
GENERAL DESCRIPTION In his group, Finnish saxophonist Jouni Järvelä combines the playing of the very best and most talented young veterans of his generation with deeply personal compositions by the leader and by the pianist Samuli Mikkonen; it is a colourful journey with resonant melodies, rich harmonies and varied rhythms joining in many extended forms. Jouni Järvelä Group is an exceptionally sensitive and dynamic group, where virtuoso players use their individual skills to bring out the best and strongest characteristics in each and every piece they perform making an integrated whole.
THE MUSICIANS The Jouni Järvelä Group was put together in 1996, and the group performed the music composed by Jouni Järvelä and Samuli Mikkonen for the first time in 1997. Three musicians in the band have remained the same from the beginning – changes include guitarist Marzi Nyman replacing Jarmo Saari in 2000, and the phenomenal Norwegian drummer Audun Kleive joined the band for the first time in 2005, playing a tour of Finland, and this collaboration will continue in the future.
WHAT IS THEIR MUSIC LIKE? It could be said that the material is on one hand melodic and sensitive and, on the other, very energetic and furiously groovy. Stylistically it is a mix of jazz, classical, rock and ethnic influences, and it merges improvisation with long-form composition. Or vice versa. Or… So then, it must be said, stylistic descriptions in words and comparisons are unfair for this band, so unique is their style. Rather, listen to their records or concerts - when this band gets on the stage, there will be a rich and balanced musical experience that leaves no one cold!
ON RECORD Following their critically-acclaimed debut record from 1999 - “Lento” - the JJG released its second album “a Grand day out (live)” in October 2007. The music was recorded live in concert during two weeks of touring in Finland. (Lento was nominated for the “Finnish Grammy” by the Emma awards in 2000.)
FIRST REVIEWS OF "a Grand day out (live)" ARE IN:
- “On his new, second album under his own name (debut record Lento was released in –99), Järvelä definitely wanders his own path, crosses trends, tacks between different styles.”
- ”The choice of Kleive as the drummer clearly gives the record personality and freshness.”
- ”The 56 minutes on the record have such a character, that you think it ends too early. Everything speaks for this being durable music with certain characteristics of timelessness…”
- ”How good this band is maybe best illustrated by quite simply establishing the fact that the album consists of recordings from three concerts. It’s something you don’t come to think of before you hear the applause. But it partly explains the authentic and airy atmosphere of the album. The sound quality itself isn’t affected by this being a concert recording – music sounds excellent.”
Hufvudstadsbladet (Helsinki), September 12th (J-E Holmberg)
- ”Jouni Järvelä’s interesting record is full of surprises.”
- ”The work of the fine musicians is enjoyable to follow, and the record reveals its secrets only after several hearings, it offers so many layers and diverse styles of music. A fine whole.”
5 out of 5, Rytmi 6/07 (L.Isbom)
- ”Within the same piece the music can swing from a punctuated, melodic Pink Floydian wash to a Wes Montgomerian excursion and back via a Zappa style freeform multilogue.”
- “Featuring names well established on the Finnish modern jazz scene, (Järvelä having asked Kleive to join the band) was rewarded with performances of assertive but sensitive drumming, well matching Mikkonen’s flowing piano, and new guitarist Marzi Nyman’s quirky, variously processed guitar.”
- “So when the sax, piano or guitar share central stage it is hard to tell who is in the driving seat. Some may construe this to be a weakness, but it leads to a very deeply integrated band who all obviously lean trustingly on each other throughout the album.”
- “Duly the band is both lax and sharp, investigating avenues occasionally precipitous but typically close to mundane, yet always treating them with a multi-instrumental approach that gives the music space as well as intensity. The album in fact offers some grand evenings out, and what’s more the recording is very clean, the music is lean, and the players nothing short of mean.”
AllAboutJazz.com 10/2007 (A. Shaw)
“Jouni Järvelä Group is one of the super groups in jazz, where there is good chemistry between the musicians. As we know, it always isn’t like this – even the most skillful players can be the most boring together”
“with its fast moves JJG showed in an excellent way, how the modern world is full of different “musics” that are seemingly rather different from each other – but when these “musics” meet, it can be meaningful and it can give birth to new energy”
“All musicians in Jouni Järvelä Group are real personalities. Above all we have here a good whole, a fine band.”
Pentti Ronkanen in Keskisuomalainen (newspaper, Jyväskylä, Finland – review of JJG w/Kleive concert in Jyväskylä 2005)
“A long set, long compositions, but a short evening. Hopefully waiting for their new record feels like a short time, too.”
“On soprano saxophone, Järvelä showed he is one of the absolute best in Finland…his style and his personal sound - even in its piercing clarity - sets him clearly apart from the others”
Pete Pakarinen in Itä-Savo (newspaper, Savonlinna, Finland – review of JJG w/Kleive concert in Savonlinna 2005)
Jouni Järvelä (b. 1973) grew up in the town of Imatra, in eastern Finland. He started playing piano, violin and saxophone in quite an early age and performed in the local big band. In 1992, while starting his studies at the Sibelius Academy in the capital Helsinki, he also began playing with the UMO Jazz Orchestra, Europe’s leading big band. Since then, Jouni's gift as a soloist has been featured frequently, and recently some of his compositions and arrangements have been heard in the concerts of UMO (featuring soloists such as Paul McCandless, Tomasz Stanko and David Liebman). During his years in UMO Jouni has been on stage with such musicians as Django Bates, Carla Bley, Tim Hagans, Joe Lovano, Paul McCandless, John Scofield, Steve Swallow, Toots Thielemans, and Kenny Wheeler. In January 2002 Jouni also conducted the orchestra for the first time. *See full list of guest soloists below.
Jouni has worked with many other distinguished Finnish groups, such as the Espoo Big Band, Jukka Linkola Tentet and the Zone ensemble. Some notable small groups he’s worked with are drummer Markus Ketola's highly acclaimed Tila-ensemble, composer Eero Hämeenniemi's Nada (a group heavily influenced by Indian music and contemporary classical music), Kari Ikonen’s Karikko (winner of Finnish Grammy), Jukkis Uotila Band, Sergio Machado Band (brazilian music), Heikki Sarmanto band and XL. Other collaborations include concerts with chamber orchestras Avanti! and Uusinta, the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra and the Helsinki Philharmonic, the chart-topping rock group Don Huonot, recording and concerts with the leading folk musicians of Finland Johanna Juhola and Timo Alakotila, and he’s been a soloist with various choirs and has played with the American Mingus Big Band.
In the spring of 1997 Jouni was the first jazz musician to be awarded the respected Josef Kaartinen-prize from the Finnish Saxophone Society. In addition to performing Jouni has concentrated on composing - a large part of the Group's music is composed by him -, and just in the recent couple of years Jouni has returned to his first instrument, piano. A new group featuring the fantastic singing of Johanna Iivanainen as well as Jouni’s piano-playing was put together in 2002.
*During his years with the Umo Jazz Orchestra, Jouni has performed with the following musicians:
Michael Abene, Muhal Richard Abrams, Peter Asplund, Django Bates, Bob Belden, Gustavo Bergalli, Carla Bley, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Terry Clarke, Natalie Cole, Larry Coryell, Hal Crook, Jamie Davis, Madeline Eastman, Jon Faddis, Örjan Fahlström, Georgie Fame, Kornel Fekete-Kovacs, Mark Feldman, Clare Fischer, Nnenna Freelon, Mike Gibbs, Rigmor Gustafsson, Tim Hagans, Slide Hampton, Peter Herbolzheimer, Conrad Herwig, Bill Holman, Scott Kinsey, Oliver Lake, Nils Landgren, Carolyn Leonhart, David Liebman, Didier Lockwood, Joe Lovano, Dennis Mackrel, Albert Mangelsdorff, Paul McCandless, Ron McClure, Jim McNeely, Mike Mossman, Ed Neumeister, New York Voices, Mike Nock, Ed Palermo, Lenny Pickett, Joe Roccisano, Matthias Rüegg, Maria Schneider, Diane Schuur, John Scofield, Rich Shemaria, Andy Sheppard, Judi Silvano, Steve Slagle, Marvin Stamm, Tomasz Stanko, Dave Stryker, John Surman, Steve Swallow, Toots Thielemans, Viktoria Tolstoy, Bill Watrous, Kenny Werner, Mike Westbrook, Kenny Wheeler, Joe Williams, Norma Winstone …
and outside Umo: Herb Pomeroy, Ray Anderson, Charles Tolliver, Jimmy Smith, Paul Jackson, Jeff Andrews, Tim Hagans, Nathan Berg, Freddie Cole, Dick Oatts, Ingrid Jensen, Jon Wikan, Mingus Big Band, Estonian Dream Big Band …
SAMULI MIKKONEN's (b. 1973) compositions are well featured in the repertoire of the Group.He has studied classical composition at the Sibelius Academy with Finland's leading contemporary composers, namely Paavo Heininen and Eero Hämeenniemi. Samuli is also a member of a variety of other distinguished small jazz groups. The first recordings of his own trios (one with bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Audun Kleive) received very positive reviews. Mikkonen is an imaginative pianist and extremely skillful in utilizing synthesizer. He colours the Group's music with his own personality and taste
MARKUS "MARZI" NYMAN(b.1979) is one of the most talented Finnish musicians and he is a very experienced guitarist, composer and singer. In addition to his own trio, he has worked – becoming a household name - with many of the most popular Finnish pop and rock groups, singer-composer Anna-Mari Kähärä, classical violin virtuoso Pekka Kuusisto and he has played jazz standards with vibraphonist Arttu Takalo's Standard's Live. Marzi has performed as a soloist with Umo Jazz Orchestra playing music of Frank Zappa and Marzi’s compositions include works for his own trio as well as music for symphony orchestra.
LASSE LINDGREN (b. 1977) is considered one of Finland's best bassists. Lasse plays the fretless electric bass and the fretless acoustic bass guitar, which brings shades of both double bass and electric bass to the sound of the Group. Lasse plays music ranging from free jazz of Free Control and Nuijamiehet to the Finnish tango interpretations by saxophonist Jukka Perko's Hurmio-Orchestra. His own debut album “Sunburst” was recorded in August 2004.
AUDUN KLEIVE’s reputation within the jazz community can best be described as true royalty. Voted by the Norwegian Jazz Musician’s Union in 1989 as Jazz Musician of The Year, he has continued to be a highly valued artist in constant demand for other projects or as a featured performer. His musicianship as a drummer and percussionist is highly respected among his peers, has gained him an established reputation as a vital force in Norwegian and international jazz, and he is a source of inspiration for an entire younger generation of jazz musicians. “I am convinced that the world needs alternatives,” Kleive states about his artistic vision, continuing, “honest musical attempts that further develop the great heritage from our planet’s composers…music is one of the last possible free places left in the world, and I aim to show that art form my respect to my last breath.” His integrity and artistry is reflected as a participant in well over 60-plus recordings, he has provided the rhythmic backdrop for such varied musicians as Terje Rypdal, Jon Balke, Charles LLoyd, and Marilyn Mazur.