Since December of 2012, We Jazz and Unifilm have been collaborating on an ongoing film project, the aim of which is to create an audio-visual record of Finland’s contemporary jazz scene.
From the improvisational explorations of Teppo Mäkynen & Ville Herrala’s ‘We Jazz Loft Sessions’ to the sublime bossa-tinged arrangements of Jukka Eskola’s Orquesta Bossa, the ten short films included on Disc One of Live At We Jazz – Season 1 do an excellent job of conveying the wealth of talent and diversity of sounds to be found on the Finnish jazz scene. And while there are a considerable number of familiar faces amongst the players, including Timo Lassy and Antti Lötjönen (as well as the aforementioned Mäkynen and Eskola), there are plenty that are likely to be unfamiliar to jazz fans outside of Finland.
This, however, is not a drawback, as some of the most interesting performances come from the lesser-known groups, including Mopo and Kahden Miehen Galaksi, both of whom possess a wonderful frenetic quality that results in highly entertaining performances.
Should you wish to hear more from either group, or indeed any of the groups featured on the dvd, Disc Two of Live At We Jazz is a cd containing music not included in the films and is well worth repeated listens. Things bode well for Season 2…
Read more about We Jazz Festival from Petri Silas’ article ‘What’s next for Nordic Jazz?’ in FMQ 1/2014 (out 15 March)