Finnish pianist, Joonas Haavisto, released his new album “Oku” through Helsinki’s Fredriksson Music in Finland in January 2016. Marking the third release for Haavisto, “Oku” unites three stellar musicians from the Finnish scene.
Haavisto on piano is joined by Antti Lötjönen on bass and Joonas Riippa on drums on a set which features 7 originals penned by Haavisto plus the lone standard “When I Fall in Love” by Victor Young. The album also received a Japanese release via LABEL, and the trio will tour in Japan in April performing five concerts.
The theme and the title of the new album is the Japanese term “Oku”, a path – or perhaps even more aptly, an “inner space”. For the band, it symbolizes their 10 years of playing together, honing their personal skills and the shared trio sound. The traditional formation of a jazz piano trio is a dynamic vehicle for expression for Haavisto, Lötjönen and Riippa, who bring together their vast experience in playing with various kinds of formations, many ranking at the top of the vibrant Finnish jazz scene. Of Haavisto’s band mates, bassist Antti Lötjönen is known for being part of many of the top ranking Finnish ensembles including Timo Lassy Band, The Five Corners Quintet, Verneri Pohjola Quartet and Ilmiliekki Quartet. He was also awarded as the “Artist of the Year” at Pori Jazz 2015. Drummer Joonas Riippa mans the drum stool of Mikko Innanen 10+, Plop, Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio, Kahden Miehen Galaksi, plus more.
Haavisto’s compositions on “Oku” are inspired by the urban landscapes of Tokyo, the legacy of the legendary Finnish composer Jean Sibelius, and the wild nature of Finland. Stylistically, the music is rooted at the jazz piano trio tradition, while the band is also not shy to utilize a freer form of expression made possible by the harmonic and melodic choices made by Haavisto in composing the tunes.
“The idea of finding the oku is closely connected to the idea of anticipation and a firm belief on a future which encourages one to keep going on and to search deeper”, Haavisto says. “This is a key element in my composing and playing. The deeper you go, the more you will find.”
1. One For Jean / 2. Winter Sleep / 3. Frozen / 4. Xibalba / 5. Singularity / 7. Chilling At Shinjuku / 8. Band Wagon / 9. When I Fall In Love