Timo Kiiskinen - Chet
There’s no doubt that singer/songwriter Timo Kiiskinen’s Chet Baker tribute is one of this year’s best albums. Now Timo and the killer players, who also play on the record, lead us live into the late great trumpetist/singer’s and hipster icon’s coolly intimate world.
Timo Kiiskinen is one of the leading Finnish songwriters and occasionally delivers an album himself, too. Until now, he has worked in a rootsier territory defined by blues, country, folk and rock, the finest example of his former work being the blood-stopping Omalla maalla (On My Own Ground, 2007). On Chet he makes a total breakthru into a style, urban cool jazz, that is new to him. He took jazz standards from the repertoire of Chet Baker, and Billie Holiday, and made them his own by translating them into Finnish in an unusually direct way, truly capturing their essence. He sings them in an intimately minimalist and frail but intense style that was Baker’s trademark. Rarely can you compare tributes, in feel or artistic expression, to their inspirator’s work, but that’s what happened here.
Kiiskinen and his band, featuring Ilmiliekki-trumpetist Verneri Pohjola, pianist Seppo Kantonen and guitarist Tuomo Dahlblom, set new standards for doing jazz standards.