About

The crux of the Ricky-Tick Big Band sound lies in the swing band tradition stemming from the early jazz of circa 1930’s onwards. The ghosts of Duke Ellington and Jimmy Lunchford lurk on the background, while Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen’s canny songwriting utilises the tradition and molds it anew into contemporary jazz with firm roots. In addition to the early jazz with edge to it, also soundtrack music, modern jazz greats, and the pentatonic structures of Ethiopian music inspired Pöyhönen during the process of composing the band's debut album (Ricky-Tick Big Band 2010). Pöyhönen started contemplating his new big band in early 2009. He composed the tracks in Helsinki and Berlin, and hand-picked each of the players one by one to fit his ambitious demands of a modern professional big band. That is, an active unit rehearsing, recording and touring the jazz circuit on a regular basis – a stunt not easy to pull, be it artistically or financially. Ricky-Tick Big Band features several of the label’s and the local scene’s hard hitters, including Jukka Eskola (trumpet) and Antti Lötjönen (bass) of The Five Corners Quintet fame, Antti Hynninen (sax) of Auteur Jazz, plus Dalindèo men Petri Puolitaival (sax), Jose Mäenpää (trumpet) and Jaska Lukkarinen (drums), to mention but a few. Finnish big band legend Antti Sarpila on clarinet adds experience to the group and unique texture to the songs with his tradition-based yet innovative stylings. The Ricky-Tick Big Band debut album is an eight-step crash course in dynamics for the contemporary big band: Pöyhönen’s compositions draw from the vast sonic palette of his large ensemble yet he never suffocates the aural picture on unnecessary avalanches of sound. The band does still launch on impressive feats of strenght when needed, but also achieves a remarkable degree of delicacy in return. Uptempo highlights include the no-nonsense swagger of opener ‘Swingtime in X-Berg’, the hard swing of ‘Easily Flammable’, and the first-grade big band döner kebab of ‘Skalitzer Special’. Compositions such as ‘Komeda’ and ‘Babel’ find Pöyhönen and his entourage hit the spot in more serene moods. Any way you look at it, Ricky-Tick Big Band is a noteworthy addition to the contemporary jazz scene. Grooving away with intensity reminiscent of, say, the Clarke-Boland Big Band, and brimming with youthful energy, the orchestra is set to stun. Early live reports confirm the ensemble’s high potential, and have gained them rave reviews from various Finnish festival scene highlights such as Flow Festival, Pori Jazz and Ilosaarirock. Ricky-Tick Big Band Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen: bandleader, guitar & piano Petri Puolitaival: alto sax & flute / Ari Jokelainen: alto sax / Antti Hynninen: tenor sax & flute / Jussi Kannaste: tenor sax / Antti Sarpila: tenor sax & clarinet / Linda Fredriksson: baritone sax / Jukka Eskola: lead trumpet / Mikko Karjalainen: trumpet / Kalevi Louhivuori: trumpet / Jose Mäenpää: trumpet / Kasperi Sarikoski: trombone / Heikki Tuhkanen: trombone / Jay Kortehisto: trombone / Juho Viljanen: bass trombone / Antti Lötjönen: double bass / Jaska Lukkarinen: drums