It's a rare thing to connect with an incredible musician like Verneri Pohjola, but then to realize he's as nice a person as you would ever meet is a real pleasure. I first heard him a few years ago in Bremen, Germany and was immediately hooked. After buying his albums I got in touch about somehow playing together. We kept in touch and then when my trio was invited to play at Tampere Jazz Happening in Finland last November, I knew this was the opportunity we had been waiting for.
After our performance in Tampere we took up residence at the Sibelius Academy studio outside of Helsinki for a couple of days. It was a huge converted barn with a beautiful Steinway B and a sauna downstairs! There were little cabins up the hill where we slept and they even had a cook to keep us nourished.
Everyone contributed compositions and I'm very pleased with how well they blend together. Of course, in the trio we're used to playing each others tunes, but Verneri's music fit right in. We also recorded a cover by the late George Michael, which might surprise some people.
Right now you can hear the album on Bandcamp, where it's available to download now or pre-order a CD and (drum-roll please!) 12" Vinyl. This will be my first vinyl pressing and I'm really excited about it. I can't wait to hold one!
Tickets are also on sale for the Album Release Concert on the Reykjavík Jazz Festival on September 6. Hope to see you there!