RAOUL BJÖRKENHEIM eCsTaSy
Raoul Björkenheim guitar, Pauli Lyytinen saxophone, Jori Huhtala contrabass, Markku Ounaskari drums
“From the zone where jazz-rock intersects with some more artful and hard-to-categorize notions, Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy is one of the more intriguing “electric” jazz bands out there. And the leader-guitarist allows for measured doses of “out there” moments, dissonance and creative disorder, to enliven the guitar-tenor saxophone melody lines and changeable rhythmic strategies. Funk, free play, Ornette-ishness, some kind of Finnish swamp-fusion and the leader’s raw, searching guitar work grace the band’s unique sound.”
Downbeat - Gilad Hekselman
With the release of Doors of Perception, its third CD on Cuneiform, eCsTaSy reveals a band confident in its ability to take risks and to trespass into unexpected soundscapes. Using Björkenheim’s compositions as launch pads, the band fluently morphs into totally improvised musical environments, keeping both musicians and listeners on their toes.
Raoul explains: “I stopped writing chord progressions decades ago, focusing instead on creating chromodal melodies paired with a strong bass line and a clear rhythmical idea, as I find that jazz players tend to resort to predictable lines when following chord symbols, and the guys in eCsTaSy allow me creative freedom as they are so well-tuned into this method. Pauli is a breathtaking improvisor with an incredible technique and range of color, and Jori brings a huge bass presence into the mix, with an ESP level of communication with Markku, who is a very dynamic drummer."
eCsTaSy has toured Finland and Europe during its eight years, and the first two CDs were nominated for best jazz recording of the year 2014 and 2015 at the Finnish Emma Awards (Finnish “Grammy”).