Finnish saxophonist Timo Lassy may not be a familiar name to American jazz fans yet, but if there is any justice, that will change with the release of this debut album. Lassy is part of the turn-of-the-millennium group of truly fantastic jazz musicians from Europe in general and Finland in particular, who have embraced both the "mainstream" hard bop and soul-jazz traditions as well as the more sophisticated aspect of club culture (sans hip-hop or house music) and come up with a new palette of colors and textures to draw from.
The dynamic duo of tenor saxophonist Timo Lassy and drummer Teppo Mäkynen return with a double LP of live recordings captured in 2019 and 2020. The We Jazz Records release "Live Recordings 2019-2020" follows the duo's 2019 LP which was shortlisted for "Jazz Album Of the Year" at Gilles Peterson's Worldwide Awards. While the studio album versions were studies in improvisational brevity, the live album lets the long-time collaborators really let loose and build memorable sonic narratives around the compositions. The album is produced and edited by Teppo Mäkynen, also known as a sought-after producer with the knack for looking at the big picture.
Helsinki duo Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen present strong body of work on their new LP which updates the sound of an acoustic sax+drums combo in a highly inspiring way. Lassy plays sax, Mäkynen plays drums and handles production duties. Consisting of 13 focused tracks each clocking in at around three minutes, the album's sound ranges from spiritual-tinged free playing all the way to delicious 4/4 groove hard-hitters, showcasing producer "Teddy Rok" Mäkynen's love for electronic music. That being said, the sound here is that of an acoustic jazz band, placed left of the timeline and thinking ahead of what this instrumentation could achieve. The overall sound is warm and inviting, with the various delicious details inspiring repeated listening.
Guitarist Nicola Conte's sixth recording as a leader is a vocal tour de force, as five different singers split up duties on select tracks. With a substantial horn section pulled from the jazz ranks, Conte takes on the role of producer more than instrumentalist, while exploring various strains of Latin jazz backings for his words and music that are mostly from his personal book of tunes.