Friday, November 10, 2017

Aki Rissanen | Artist Takeover (EDITION RECORDS 2017)


Exciting times!

My new album 'Another North' is released TODAY!


I toured Japan first time as a leader in October to present music from the album. The tour was the most active and intense I've ever had 12 concerts in 8 days! We played concerts around Tokyo with my trio including Yokohama Jazz Promenade Festival (which was amazing!) and I continued to the West part of Japan - Osaka, Kyoto and Kobe to play solo. What a great tour it was! I love it there! The people, the food, the architecture, you name it!

'Another North' is licensed to a Japanese label Inpartmaint Inc. and I was very happy to have my first album as a Japanese edition in my hands! I'm now planning to go back next year.

Aki Rissanen

The music on 'Another North' circulates around the ideas we have been developing during the last few years, framed within the Nordic tone as we hear it. With Amorandom, we briefly explored a more energetic world in our approach to our music with compositions such as ‘Bird Vision’. As we toured and developed that music over the last 18 months, our desire to delve deeper in this direction became stronger. As a trio we wanted to collectively discover a greater intensity and energy in rhythmic and harmonic textures, to stand out as a trio from the North. This music is the sum of that exploration!

There are few characteristic things I wanted to define the sound of the album with. Compared with the more pastoral and lyrical 'Amorandom', the new album concentrates more on hypnotic loops and grooves.


The opening track 'Blind Desert' is actually one of the first songs I've ever wrote for a jazz group. The first recorded version of the song is on my 'One Note Stories' album from 2005. The new version is much more rhythmic and goes in both 5/8 and 6/8 time signatures. The ostinato vamps are influenced by minimalistic composers, namely Philip Glass and Steve Reich

The same approach continues on the second track 'John's Sons' which is composed by the great late Finnish jazz pianist and composer Jarmo Savolainen. He was my piano teacher in Sibelius Academy and his style and insight to music in general has influenced a lot in my playing. We collectively use different kinds of patterns to form the solo part and morph them to new ones nothing was rehearsed before the recording and that gives pretty organic feeling to the take!

We all three have listened and loved Jim Black's recent trio record 'The Constant' and among other influences it inspired us  to find the right angle to the arrangement of the third track 'New Life And Other Beginnings'. It turned out to be pretty nice featuring Teppo's great drum work!

With our arrangement of Gyorgy Ligeti’s piano etude I wanted to reimagine the classical masterpiece - which is influenced by Bill Evans’ music - fusing it seamlessly with jazz rhythm and sensibility; a happy happenstance as Evans is a massive inspiration and classical repertoire in general a big stylistic influence to me! I used snippets from the original song to recompose our version.

I come from Eastern Finland and in my region everybody knows a song entitled 'Kallaves'. The song is actually originally an Estonian folk song but it has become our 'theme song'. I used the melody from the song for the main motive for my composition 'Nature of the Beast' and variated it in many ways throughout the song.

The track 6, 'Before The Aftermath' has two cycles of chords and they're constantly repeated with different tempos. I've got inspiration from the great trumpeter Ambrose Akinmushire's music to find the right mood for the song. The final section of the song has something like 'Brad Mehldau meets Keith Jarrett' vibe.

The final track, 'Hubble Bubble' is our collective tribute to bebop masters Charlie Parker and Bud Powell. The fast jazz original 'Crazeology' is credited to the both jazz legends (also with the name 'Bud's Bubble'). We use small parts of the melody as means to improvise and rewrite the song. The song features Antti and Teppo both doing great work.

I'm also very happy to have this music released on an audiophile 180 gram vinyl! Actually from the start,  the plan was to record the amount of music that fits to the vinyl. This helped me in the process to select only the best tunes for the record and polish them to perfection! :) After listening the test pressings I am very happy of the outcome and cannot wait to see the actual copies with the outstanding artwork by Dave Stapleton!

We will have quite many concert dates for the trio in the rest of the year. We play at the Saarbrücken Jazz Festival in Germany, Pizza Express Jazz Club in London, UK, the best jazz club in Finland, Koko Jazz Club and Sellosali in Espoo to name a few. I'm very much looking forward to these concerts and hope to see you at the concerts!

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