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UMO Jazz Orchestra: Sauna Palaa!

Read "Sauna Palaa!" reviewed by Jack Bowers

In Finland, world-class big band jazz is spelled UMO. The country's premier large ensemble, now ably conducted by Kirmo Lintinen, has been defining big band jazz with a Scandinavian accent for more than three decades. The group's latest album, Sauna Palaa!, encompasses seven original compositions by as many Finnish composers (including one by Lintinen) inspired by the works of the nineteenth century Finnish writer Aleksis Kivi and his most famous book, The Seven Brothers.

The album's title, which translates into ...

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The UMO Jazz Orchestra: UMO Plays Frank Zappa

Read "UMO Plays Frank Zappa" reviewed by Jack Bowers

With a playing time of 16:36 and no liner notes or list of personnel, this brief survey by Finland’s UMO Jazz Orchestra of the music of Frank Zappa is more a demo than a full-fledged album, but I can’t grasp who is being promoted. According to its cover, the album “Features Marzi Nyman,” but as I’m not familiar with that name I don’t know whether he (or she) is the vocalist (on Track 2 only) or guitarist (showcased throughout). To ...

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UMO Jazz Orchestra: Transit People

Read "Transit People" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The spirit of John Coltrane shines brightly through the UMO Jazz Orchestra.

The UMO Jazz orchestra made their Naxos Jazz debut among the first six releases from the new label in 1998 with their self-titled disc ( UMO Orchestra, Naxos Jazz 86010). The orchestra performed a bright progressive type of big band jazz that listeners have come to expect of European, specifically Scandinavian, orchestras. UMO has never been frightened away from a pricklier repertoire and they take John Coltrane nuggets ...

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UMO Jazz Orchestra with Kenny Wheeler & Norma Winstone: One More Time

Read "One More Time" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

One More Time is the latest by Finland’s eminent “UMO Jazz Orchestra”. And as a follow up to their noteworthy 1999 electric-Miles based release aptly titled “Electrifying Miles”, featuring trumpeter Tim Hagans, the band now performs alongside renowned trumpeter Kenny Wheeler and the extraordinary vocalist, Norma Winstone.

Wheeler composed all of these pieces as the music typifies the trumpeter’s familiar -soaring skyward – approach enhanced by his conveyance of yearning or soul-searching lines. On “The One More Time Suite”, the ...

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UMO Jazz Orchestra: Celebrates Ellington

Read "Celebrates Ellington" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Ceremonies marking the 100th anniversary of the birth of Jazz immortal Duke Ellington are being accompanied not only by reissues of Duke’s music but by new recordings from groups of all shapes and sizes around the world. Finland’s superb UMO Jazz Orchestra Celebrates Ellington with a charming performance of 14 of his memorable compositions whose earnestness never fails to please. Beyond that, UMO plays with great skill, and the charts, from overture (“Things Ain’t What They Used to Be,” “Sophisticated ...

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UMO Jazz Orchestra: Electrifying Miles

Read "Electrifying Miles" reviewed by Jack Bowers

I can’t honestly evaluate this disc; the truth is, I can barely listen to it. Finland’s UMO Jazz Orchestra, whose superb release, Selected Standards, was reviewed last month, was kind enough to send this more recent recording in the same package, and while I must thank UMO for its generosity, it has impelled me to make a public confession, which is that, Jazz legend or no, I was never an enthusiastic advocate of trumpeter Miles Davis, and this is especially ...

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UMO Jazz Orchestra: Selected Standards

Read "Selected Standards" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Finland’s superb and customarily adventurous 24–year–old UMO Jazz Orchestra devotes its attention to the Great American Songbook on Selected Standards, reframing these familiar works to suit its Nordic temperament and imparting to them a personality that’s as fresh and invigorating as a tone poem by Sibelius. From the marching drum, dancing piccolo and shifting time signatures that introduce “Indiana” to the shuffling rhythms and rap vocal at the onset of Cole Porter’s “Love for Sale,” these are timeworn standards with ...

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Umo Jazz Orchestra: Umo Jazz Orchestra

Read "Umo Jazz Orchestra" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

The Big Band at the End of the Century. There are several very fine and innovative Big Bands composing and performing right now. They include the bands headed by Carla Bley, Maria Schneider, Toshiko Akiyoshi, McCoy Tyner, and Bob Mintzer. To borrow from Downbeat magazine, a big band “talent deserving wider recognition" is the Finnish Umo Jazz Orchestra.

Scandinavian Swing. The Umo Jazz Orchestra was founded in 1975 by a group of Finnish Jazz musicians who had been working irregularly ...


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