Raoul Björkenheim: electric guitars
Pauli Lyytinen: saxophones
Jori Huhtala: bass
Markku Ounaskari: drums
Björkenheim formed eCsTaSy, an all-finnish quartet, in 2010, bringing two young talents, Pauli Lyytinen and Jori Huhtala, into the spotlight in a repertory of original compositions painting swirling polyrhythms with a free-tonal palette. Björkenheim’s accomplice from many previous projects, Markku Ounaskari, brings his own subtle mastery into the mix, thus combining the sensibilities of three generations. With influences ranging from Korean and African music to contemporary chamber music and free rock, eCsTaSy’s mission is to elevate its audiences with high energy and a dedication to adventurous sound. The quartet’s first Cd was released by Cuneiform Records in february 2014, and the next album has already been recorded for release by that label in September 2015.
Björkenheim’s by now nearly legendary guitar playing is known for it’s searing lyricism and wide flexibility, documented on over 30 albums with bands such as Krakatau, Phantom City and Edward Vesala Sound & Fury. Several records for ECM brought him to the attention of the international community in the early 90’s, and since then he has performed and recorded with musicians like Toshinori Kondo, Anthony Braxton, Henry Kaiser and Mats Gustafsson.
Pauli Lyytinen is a musician and composer with an obsession for tone color and experimental techniques, creating a sensastion with his fluency on the Bb family of saxophones, from bass to soprano. In music ranging from hardcore free to experimental pop, Lyytinen has been inventing new roles for his instruments in his groups Elifantree, Defekt, Kauhukakara, Minor DeLuxe and Equally Stupid, often limiting himself to the role of accompanist. In this quartet, Lyytinen gets a chance to spread his improvisatory wings.
Jori Huhtala brings a powerful presence to the band with his strong contrabass playing. Resonating with echoes of the great masters, Huhtala has forged a highly rhythmical yet lyrical voice for himself, much in demand among top players like TimHagans, Tim Ries, Eero Koivistoinen and Panu Savolainen. His current bands include Kvalda and Big Blue.
Markku Ounaskari is a veteran of some of the most memorable Finnish groups in the past two decades. He has been very busy recording for ECM, most recently releasing his first solo abum in 2010. Ounaskari has played with all the major Finnish jazz figures, and with international players including Lee Konitz, Kenny Wheeler, Tomasz Stanko and Marc Ducret. He and Björkenheim have played together for two decades, most recently in a quartet with Juhani Aaltonen.
For bookings contact:
info (at) companyofheaven.com
Company of Heaven
523-525 West 152nd Street
New York, NY 10031
+ 212 218 9785 (office)
+ 347 210 9617 (mobile)