I thought I knew what jazz was when I was in younger because I was listening, but it took a long time to actually hear jazz. As time went by, and my jazz tastes were enriched from all directions, I was able to pick up what these players were laying down. Like a fine wine, jazz got better with age. Today, the quartet known as OK:KO out of Helsinki, Finland gives us some serious spiritual jazz that is ready right here and now for ears young and old to get into. With drummer Okko Saastamoinen at the helm, he traveled from a budding folk scene to creating a jazz ensemble. He started putting down beautiful jazz music with that ensemble in 2015. Playing a bevy of festivals and releasing a record on AMP, Land E. in 2017, they have established themselves as a serious jazz collective. Made up of some of the most exciting and wanted Finnish jazz players, OK:KO have other world playing from Jarno Tikka on sax, Mikael Saastamoinen (same name, no relation to Okko) on bass, and
We aim to keep the band sound fresh and move from sensitive sound world to rough and grandiloquent atmosphere – Okko Saastamoinen
Toomas Keski-Säntti on piano. Off of this new record, “Syrtti” is a great representation of these in demand players. Weaving in and out of hook filled compositions, but equally given space as individuals to improvise, we are feeling this track. While this highly personal piece of music can be feel like past classics from Coltrane or Albert Ayler, it’s the spiritual sound of now. Connecting deep within the listener, the overall mood of this track is uplifting and satisfying. A beautiful piece of Finnish jazz that sits right on the shelf, not too high, but high enough for you to know that a band like OK:KO will be talked about for years to come. Maybe they are ahead of their time, maybe they are right on time, but there is one thing for sure, this track feels good. Perhaps it might be too advanced for some ears at the moment, but like that fine wine, we believe it will age just right. Check out the track below:
Get the record on We Jazz here.
This group is my new binge. Thanks for lead.