As a Leader

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Tomi Nikku 5tet


Light & Shade


Flame Jazz Records / 2021


releases September 17, 2021


Tomi Nikku presents his debut under his own name on Flame Jazz Records with the album ’Light & Shade’.


On his new album, you’ll hear his band Tomi Nikku 5tet, which has worked together since 2018 and features Max Zenger on alto sax / bass clarinet, Ilkka Uksila on vibraphone, Vesa Ojaniemi on bass, and Jonatan Sarikoski on drums. The 5tet’s instrumentation, which differs from the typical quintet formation with vibes in the rhythm section and bass clarinet in the front line, Nikku’s compositions, and the 5tet’s musicians’ recognizable and expressive voices create Tomi Nikku 5tet’s unique band sound.


Like the twofold title suggests, ’Light & Shade’ is assembled in halves. The ”light side” (side A on the LP) includes groovy and energetic ”Inceptum”, serene yet determined ”Who Goes First?” (written originally for Bowman Trio), and sweet and playful ”V.E.N.”, which is dedicated to Nikku’s firstborn child. The darker side (side B on the LP) includes melancholic solo trumpet track ”Trumpet Intro / Yearnin'”, strong minor piece ”Emboldened”, dreamy and wistful ”What Is It (That You’re So Afraid Of)”, and the album closing track ”Yearnin’”.


”I tend to write more music when I’m really going through something in my life, whether that is something making me feel happy or unhappy. On this album, you will hear pieces that I have written when feeling super hyped about something ("Inceptum") or really, really happy and proud ("V.E.N."). You will also hear pieces written in a totally different mindset. The tunes like "What Is It" and "Yearnin'" both originated from the polarized atmosphere of the summer of 2020. Channeling those emotions onto these compositions certainly helped me to keep my head above water and keep me going. I've had a great time preparing this music and this album for you. I hope you enjoy it too!” -Tomi


Tomi Nikku 5tet’s ’Light & Shade’ will be available on vinyl, CD, and digitally.

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Alder Ego - II


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