“Top of the list for my hall pass from Drudgery would be Hot Corner, the latest from Finland’s finest, the Five Corners Quintet. ‘Hot Rod’ kicks things off with some fried chicken guitars, easy going handclaps and loosey goosey piano giving modal jazz a shuffling, entirely different flair. ‘Shake It’ is the stormer with the tight interplay of Jukka Eskola on trumpet and Timo Lassy on tenor sax riding roilling rhythms from Antti Lotjonen and Teppo Makynen. Tuomas Kallio of Nuspirit Helsinki fame does all the arrangements and he should be especially proud of this one”
“About as hip as you can get without throwing your back out”
ALL ABOUT JAZZ
In 2005, The Five Corners Quintet from Helsinki took the international dancefloor jazz scene by a storm. “Chasin’ the Jazz Gone By”, their debut for Ricky-Tick Records, a label that was initially conceived of as a vehicle for releasing the very first TFCQ vinyl single, proved out to be both an artistic and a commercial success story. For once and for all, the album proved that it is possible to look back while moving forward. The touch of producer-composer Tuomas Kallio was true to the golden era of modern jazz, and his vision in updating form rather than feeling resulted in music that is truly “postmodern jazz”, if there ever was some.
Three years, some 50, 000 sold records, and 100+ international gigs later, The Five Corners Quintet are set to return with their sophomore effort. The album, out on Milan Records in April is entitled “Hot Corner”, and everything about it indicates that the scene-leading Finnish ensemble has upped the ante. Rather, theirs will be the task of taking 2000 Century dancefloor jazz into another level.
Some things remain, of course. The sports axiom about not changing a winning team reigns true here, with a guest appearance by jazz vocalist par excellance, Mr. Mark Murphy, who also lent his golden voice to three tracks on the debut. This time around, however, it should come as no big suprise that a bunch of Finns manage to lure a living jazz legend to take part in their production, for TFCQ face high expectations when it comes to their return in recorded form.
The enormously successful live band consisting of Teppo Mäkynen (drums/bandleader), Timo Lassy (sax), Jukka Eskola (trumpet), Mikael Jakobsson (piano), and Antti Lötjönen (double bass), also remains. On “Hot Corner”, however, the band takes a larger role in comparison to the first album. Tuomas Kallio is the “commander-in-chief” once again, but there’s a stronger sense of community also in the studio.
The new sound of TFCQ could be described as leaning towards the “Hot” of the album title more than the cool of their previously recorded work. Here, the impact of the live band is evident. Kallio’s compositions also move away from standard jazz into fresh new territories, where even the occasional flirt with genres such as rockabilly is to be expected. The EP preceding the album release already showed marks of the band “rocking” rather than “swinging”, and those directions are further explored on the upcoming album.
One thing is certain: The Five Corners Quintet have a knack at searching and finding new directions instead of following paths trampled by others. Of this, their new album “Hot Corner” is an ample piece of evidence.
“Three Corners”-track was selected as one of the Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide All Winners Cuts of 2004 on BBC Radio One.
“Wonderful stuff, pure genius. This super fresh Helsinki based five piece once again show why Scandinavia seems to be leading the way when it comes to all things jazz”
– DJ MAGAZINE
“Doper than dope”
– STRAIGHT NO CHASER MAGAZINE
– BLUES & SOUL MAGAZINE
“This is heavy, real jazz for the future. Search out!”
– BREAKIN POINT MAGAZINE
“Debut album “Chasin’ the Jazz Gone By” is out now. 12 tracks of dancefloor jazz for your hi-fi featuring the jazz singers jazz singer, Mr. Mark Murphy. On their new album, “Chasin’; the Jazz Gone By”, the band play stylish jazz tailored for the dancefloor using samplers and sequencers; live, they play dynamic, danceable acoustic jazz. Powered by drummer Teppo “Teddy Rok” Makynen and trumpet prodigy Jukka Eskola, they have the potential to become a major draw on the European Jazz Circuit.”
THE OBSERVER (UK)
“These 12 tracks could easily be a triumph of style over substance – but instead they update the past with panache.”
THE TIMES (UK)
“Oddly enough, Finland enjoys a remarkable affininty with the Golden Age of modern US jazz. […] A crowd of 2,500 turned up when US crooner Mark Murphy joined the Five Corners for a concert in Helsinki last month, and he sounds in his element with them on his four guest tracks here. Trumpeter Jukka Eskola suggests a prime-period Donald Byrd, vibist Sereri Pyysalo recalls Bobby Hutcherson, tenorist Eero Koivistoinen comes over like a Yusef Lateef disciple, drummer Teppo Makynen grooves like a young Billy Higgins and the sweet-voiced Okou adds charm to the shimmering waltz, Blue Cycles, that opens the session. Catch them.”
– EVENING STANDARD (UK)
“While Finland’s current cultural associations extend no farther than moomins and reindeer, this small but influential Nordic country could potentially be credited with bringing jazz into the 21st century.”
– Sarah Marshall, UNDERCOVER MAGAZINE(UK)
“That fire burns in Helsinki’s Five Corners Quintet, who bop so hard you can almost hear starched white collars being popped and square-rimmed glasses fogging up behind the studio window.”
– XLR8R MAGAZINE (USA)
“By whatever standards they are judged, The Five Corners Quintet are a class act. Without dumbing down or selling out they have moved jazz out of the dark ages by delivering on Kallio’s original idea of grooving jazz played in the classic modernistic spirit and underpinned with contemporary club rhythms.”
Stuart Nicholson, The Observer
“Finland’s Five Corners Quintet are back with more verve than anyone has right to expect… Classy modern jazz sounds”