Aug 30, 2009

Jimi Tenor And Kabu Kabu - Joystone


Touching down, Joystone begins with ‘Anywhere, Anytime’, a quirky upbeat track laced with a lovely looping beat. Jimi Tenor’s readiness is professed on top of the range of intriguing sounds, organ, guitar, horns and electronic effects all combining melodiously.

A terrific start to the album continues with ‘I Wanna Hook Up’, a future anthem perhaps, as is a latter tune — ‘Sunrise’, both possessing hands-in-the-air qualities! ‘Hot Baby’ and ‘Bedroom Eyes’ are songs for the bedroom with moans reminiscent of Chakachas’ ‘Jungle Fever’. The album is energised throughout with the awesome polyrhythmic percussion of Kabu Kabu, a contingent from West Africa, led by Nicholas Addo-Nettey, a former member of Fela Kuti’s band. The steady dark mood of ‘Smoking’ and bursts of hand drumming in ‘Horror Water’ are personal favourite percussive moments.

‘Hermetic Man’ has a timeless groove and cheery mood with lovely play between drums and organ. Tenor’s arrangement skills are regularly displayed through the album. ‘Horror Water’ needs to be heard with its fiery guitar and pumping bassline. Closing ‘Joystone’ is ‘Dede’, monumental uncomplicated bass mixed with lush flute and head-bopping drums. Timo Lassy and Jukka Eskola’s contributions to Joystone should not be over-looked, these two brilliant horn players are making phenomenal music with the Five Corners Quintet or within solo projects. The Finnish jazz scene is one that is taking music further and these players look set to continue maturing and impressing audiences across the globe.

Jimi Tenor and a host of high calibre guests, including his wife Nicole Willis have conjured a spectacular album. The music deserves to be heard by a mainstream audience. His broad appreciation of many sounds comes together in the adeptness and authenticity of whichever genre he turns his hand or ear to. Joystone brings a fabulous array of artists to mind — Stevie Wonder, Fela Kuti, Serge Gainsborg, and contemporary figures, Shaun Lee and Matthew Herbert.

Joystone sees Jimi Tenor reuniting with Sähkö Recordings, the label he began his solo career with, international distribution will be by Ubiquity, who only release quality music. Songs from the album have already been played by DJs including Gilles Peterson, Toshio Matsuura, Jazzanova and Andrew Meza from BTS Radio, currently the hottest radio show on the planet.


Joystone is the latest musical excursion by the ever-inventive arranger, composer and musician Jimi Tenor, who has curiously been dubbed the ‘Elton John of Jazz’ and the ‘Barry White of Finland’. The ringleader teams with Kabu Kabu, a trio of West African musicians and ex-Fela Kuti sidemen led by Nicholas Addo Nettey. He has also called on leading players in the budding Finnish jazz scene - trumpeter Jukka Eskola and saxophonist Timo Lassey. The result is a mash of Scandinavian jazz and poly-rhythmic Afro-beat with playful, captivating melodies - making Joystone literally a joy to listen to. Despite its warm sunny feel, the album was conceived in Finland and beautifully recorded, mixed and produced entirely by Dider Selin. Hermatic Man is classic Tenor, with loping melodic passages and subtle hints of 1970s prog jazz. The sly spacey funk of Smoking contrasts the playful up-tempo I Wanna Hook Up With You, while album closer Dede takes the inventiveness further. A cinematic seven-minute opus, it showcases the halkofon - a one-of-a-kind instrument invented and built by Tenor from sticks of wood used to heat up the Finnish sauna. This music deserves to be heard by a mainstream audience - an audience seeking something unique and special.



01. anywhere, anytime 6:56
02. green grass 1:46
03. i wanna hook up with you 4:13
04. hot baby 5:16
05. bedroom eyes 5:14
06. hermetic man 3:44
07. love is the only god 5:19
08. ariane 4:19
09. smoking 6:03
10. horror water 3:42
11. sunrise 8:09
12. dede 7:07

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