About this Recording

Led by composer/conductor Jere Laukkanen, this sizzling hot session is evidence that the Latin groove has truly gone global. With a select group of the best jazz performers in Finland, Jere Laukkanen continues to assert Northern Europe as a thriving hotbed for new and creative jazz music.

This Nordic/Latin alliance of Afro-Cuban influenced tunes is jam packed with infectious rhythm and Scandinavian melodic lines. Of the eight pieces, Laukkanen composed six and they vividly interpret aspects of life in the Caribbean and Cuba. His spunky arrangements are both technical and fresh, while the many soloists shine brightly and enthusiastically. Instead of Helsinki, you could easily imagine it is Havana where this orchestra originates.

Featuring 21 of Finland’s finest jazz musicians in an Afro-Cuban all-star blowout, the red hot re-interpretations of classic compositions include Jaco Pastorius?Teen Town and Dizzy Gillespie & Chano Pozo’s Manteca.

Among the soloists and band members showing their stuff include fellow Naxos Jazz stars, pianist Lenni-Kalle Taipale and saxophonist Pekka Pylkkänen. Others outstanding players include tuba player Mikko Mustonen, trombonist Mikael Lángbacka, guitarist Markku Martikainen, reedman Oili Ojajärvi, trumpeters Teemu Mattsson and Tero Saarti, and flautist Yoel Terry.

Started by composer/arranger/conductor Laukkanen and trumpeter Sami Pöyhönen in 1996 in Helsinki, Finland, the band was founded as a home for all the jazz musicians in Finland interested in playing Afro-Cuban music. The principal idea of the orchestra is to utilize this multi-cultural collision by creating new music which would bring the best qualities of North European jazz and contemporary Afro-Cuban rhythms together.

Recorded in February of 2000 in Helsinki, Jere Laukkanen’s Finnish Afro-Cuban Jazz Orchestra is destined to be the hottest thing to come out of Finland since the sauna.

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