Tomi Nikku 5tet features a typical setting for a Finnish jazz combo: the same players accompany each other in various bands, where sometimes only as little as the name of the leader seems to change. Such ‘recycling’ grants the possibility to build up a unique and tight-knit original sound. This is something that is currently taking place with Tomi Nikku 5tet and his contemporaries.
This new generation of Finnish jazz instrumentalists is crafting a sound, that is unlike the traditional Nordic melancholy we are so used to hear. Tomi Nikku is standing in the chiasma of this development. The trumpetist can be heard in such groups as Maxxxtet, Uxila Exile and Alder Ego, which all bear some similarities soundwise to Tomi Nikku 5tet.
So what is this "new" sound? In part Tomi Nikku manages to blend the sonorities of post-modern jazz with neo-romantic harmony and counterpoint. The result is a mixture that is able to stand sonically on its own. At it's wildest moments the music bears resemblence to that change of millennia jazz that was occasionally labelled "M-base". This is how ever a Nordic variant. Give a listen to the hard driving, high stakes action on the opening tune Inceptum.
At times Tomi Nikku takes us back to the more "traditional Nordic sound" as on What Is It (That You Are So Afraid Of?). The name of the song embraces the daring nature of the games Nikku & co. play on Light & Shade.
Tomi Nikku 5tet: Light & Shade
Tomi Nikku, trumpet
Max Zenger, alto sax, bass clarinet
Ilkka Uksila, vibraphone
Vesa Ojaniemi, bass
Jonatan Sarikoski, drums
Flame Jazz Records, 2021