August 2000

Britain's jazz veterans join forces with young Finns

As another example of fruitful British-Finnish jazz collaboration, two of Britain's finest trumpet players have recently been playing with a group of young Finnish jazz musicians. Kenny Wheeler and Henry Lowther have joined forces with the remarkable Jan Simons Band.

"An amazing experience", was the way the young bass player Simons described his band's joint performance at Appleby Jazz Festival with Lowther. Recounting the experience during a short visit to London, Simons was still glowing with satisfaction when he thought of the enthusiastic audience reactions.

This British-Finnish project started some time ago when Kenny Wheeler agreed to travel to Finland to record with Simons's band. The result was a CD called Answer (Silence Music 0002). In addition to Wheeler and Simons, this beautiful recording has Manuel Dunkel on tenor sax, Samuli Mikkonen on piano, Niklas Winter on guitar and Markku Ounaskari on drums. The music consists of Simons's and other band members' compositions.

As readers of these pages may recall, Mikkonen and Ounaskari were among the musicians who played with Wheeler at Vortex Jazz Club in London in May, as part of Polar Jazz 2000. The band had Jorma Ojanperä on bass, as the Finnish members of this group were also part of the Mika Mylläri Quintet which played at the same venue. Jari Perkiomäki was on alto sax and saxophonist Ed Jones played as guest soloist.

The concert fronted by Wheeler and Mikkonen was recorded by BBC Radio 3 and has already been broadcast.

Wheeler being unable to join Simons's band at Appleby, Lowther joined forces with the Finns, with equally exciting results. On piano the band had this time Kari Ikonen.

The next stage of this project is a tour in Finland this autumn. Kenny Wheeler will again join Simons's band and a CD based on these concerts will be published later. The tour is supported by the Finnish Jazz Association.

See also:

Polar Jazz: European jazz redefined by Chris Parker

Focus, Summer 2000

BURN: "Dynamic project"

30 May 2000

BURN at Vortex and Bath Jazz Festival

29 May 2000

Northern Lights over Stoke Newington

26 May 2000

Wheeler and Mikkonen open Polar Jazz at Vortex

25 May 2000

Kenny Wheeler featured in Polar Jazz

14 April 2000

Ed Jones Quintet's adventures in Finland

June 1998

"A taut front line": Jones and Mylläri tour Scotland and Finland by Tapani Lausti

February 1998

Ed Jones adds Finnish flavour to his jazz band by Chris Parker

January 1998

Finnish jazz benefits from more international contacts: interview with Mika Mylläri

January 1998


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