Music Portrait | posted 30.06.2020
We Jazz
With emphasis on We
We Jazz, that stands for edgy, surprising jazz from the north. And also not. Since 2013 the festival has been held in Helsinki, since 2016 the label was founded. Matti Nives mainly publishes Finnish bands there. And acts as one of the most important networkers of the local scene.
Text Jan Paersch
Rubriken_sticker_detail_06

You can find the Vinyl records of We Jazz in the HHV Records webshop.


A song is not a label. A single tune can hardly stand for an entire record label. But »Tremendoce« has what it takes to become an anthem for We Jazz. Check out that flute loop! Add a casual break beat, shimmering saxophones and synthesizers. Faintly heard in the background: a choir, Spiritual Jazz style. A strange little masterpiece, created by Otis Sandsjö. The tune can be heard on Sandsjö’s new album »Y-Otis 2«, out in July. The title numbering is Rap-style, the sound is one that seems only to be possible having been created in Scandinavia. Even though the masterminds behind it have been living in Berlin for years: saxophonist Sandsjö and bassist Petter Eldh. That’s just one of the contradictions this fresh new music has to endure. For lack of a better name, let’s call this music »Jazz«.

We Jazz: a name synonymous with edgy, startling Jazz from the North. Or sometimes with no-nonsense straightahead swing or ambient-tinged electronic experiments. »The ›jazz‹ in We Jazz is a lot of different things«, said Matti Nives. In 2013, a festival in Helsinki was established, the label of the same name started in 2016. Matti Nives’ main focus is on Finnish bands. Sought-after drummer Teppo Mäkynen (3TM, Timo Lassy) and similarly busy bass player Antti Lötjönen (Timo Lassy, Jukka Eskola) create for We Jazz. Also in the roster: a Dizzy Gillespie tribute by veteran sax man Jukka Perko and experimental projects by Mopo or Bowman Trio. Plus, there are the internationals like Sandsjö and Eldh, also Brooklyn baritone saxophonist Jonah Parzen-Johnson.
Matti Nives was born in 1980. A DJ, producer, label chef, festival curator, designer and editor. He used to listen to A Tribe Called Quest and Public Enemy; the addictive samples made him check out Jazz. »And then there was Ricky-Tick Records in Helsinki,« Matti recalls. »The label is single-handedly responsible for me ending up in the business. Acts like Five Corners Quintet, Dalindèo and Timo Lassy were proving that Jazz does have contemporary value. It’s happening here, in Finland, and it’s cool.«

Timo Lassy, the Soul-Jazz virtuoso, has long been a close friend of Matti Nives. Last year, together with Teppo Mäkynen he released the excellent duo album »Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen« on We Jazz. Mäkynen is another key figure at We Jazz, an all-round artist who is so much more than just a rough-swinging drummer: he is a producer, band leader, collector of exotic instruments and a highly talented songwriter. Matti Nives says: »My career is hardly conceivable without Teppo. He has carte blanche with us. He can record whatever he likes – we’ll find a way to publish it. Last year he put out three records on We Jazz, including two under the name 3TM. Teppo is THE We Jazz artist, a visionary guy. He thinks and lives music, every second.«
»The ›jazz‹ in We Jazz is a lot of different things« (Matti Nives) »Lake« by 3TM, which also came out as double vinyl alongside the quiet ambient piece »Abyss«, does not sound one bit Scandinavian. Acoustic Jazz, subtly enriched with electronic overdubs. Post-Bop compositions that melt into Pop songs with a warm Industrial appeal. There are songs that demonstrate a perfect synthesis of saxophone and synthesizer sounds.

Sound details are important to Matti Nives, but: »Often, I only discover in retrospect how the albums relate in an overall context. The avant-garde side of our output might increase, but there will always be stuff in between: Mopo, for example, is quite free, but also very groovy. Also, I love the 7 inch format! We have a series meant for DJ, designed to feature more rhythmic songs.«
»Cutting edge music on vinyl« is the We Jazz motto. Nives is the producer of most releases. He is also in charge of cover design.
»A label like ECM is respected for its design, there’s a larger concept behind it. A We Jazz record should tell its own story, but also show how it relates to the rest of the output. I would shy away from calling myself a designer, but at some point I accepted that I was. That adds another level of substance. That’s just my DIY mentality – I just wanted to learn to do everything by myself.«

Matti Nives remains creative, always up for unusual business moves. Two live albums have just been released, last year, he put out »Koma Saxo«, Petter Eldh’s new project. A vigorous quintet sporting three saxophones, best enjoyed live. »Our releases will probably never generate big returns, says Matti, »but we’re getting smarter about breaking even. There’s a huge difference between having 500 or 1000 copies of an album pressed.« Five-figure vinyl sales are certainly what creative geniuses like Otis Sandsjö or Teppo Mäkynen deserve. Because they are the ones creating the anthems of our time.


You can find the Vinyl records of We Jazz in the HHV Records webshop.

Your Comment
Related Articles
Music Essay | posted 09.07.2020
Baltic & Finnish Jazz
Removing Boundaries
While jazz from London to L.A. is evolving a fresh pop sensibility or even tries to update the fusion heritage, cool flavors between new blood and nostalgia are cultivated on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Here the genre is cosmopolitan as well and yet totally distinct.
Music Portrait | posted 07.07.2020
International Anthem
In search of the truth
For six years the label International Anthem from Chicago has been reliably delivering jazz with their own attitude and idea. Although the founders refuse to be ascribed almost any kind of attribution to a genre. For them, the most beautiful sound is just always: the truth.
Music Essay | posted 24.06.2019
British Jazz
On The Hot Spot
Jazz in Great Britain is in the midst of a generational shift. New talents from Manchester to London are revising gridlocked listening habits and are testing the limits of the genre. But why now?
Music List | posted 03.07.2019
Polish Jazz
An introduction in 10 vinyl records
The Polish jazz scene is considered one of the most important and creative in Europe. Today it oscillates between superficial conventions and hidden ruptures. A little search for clues.
Music Interview | posted 16.06.2020
Gary Bartz
»We no longer see reality«
The Grammy-winning soprano saxophonist shared the stage with Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Max Roach. Now he has recorded an album with British outfit Maisha — and discovered something new.
Music Portrait | posted 14.05.2020
Muriel Grossmann
Abstraction with a sea view
Saxophonist Muriel Grossmann reaches abstraction on the Balearic Islands, rides the waves with hard bop and even amazes billionaires with standards. Who is the secret pioneer of the spiritual revival?
Music Review | posted 10.01.2014
BadBadNotGood
BBNG2
To get jazz back out of the feuilleton, it’s taken nothing but the gentlemen of BadBadNotGood. »BBNG2« is making jazz dangerous again.
Music Review | posted 11.02.2016
Ed Motta
Perpetual Gateways
Since Donny Hathaway, hardly anyone has sounded this tender. With »Perpetual Gateways«, jazz singer Ed Motta is keeping up his high standards.
Music Review | posted 22.03.2016
Vijay Iyer / Wadada Leo Smith
A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke
Words like »sublime« should be used sparingly; however, it’s more than fitting for the encounter between Vijay Iyer and Wadada Leo Smith.
Music Review | posted 14.04.2016
Özdemir Erdoğan
Jazz Session
Özedemir Erdoğan’s »Jazz Session« gives us a good idea of the great things waiting to be explored in the field of Turkish music.
Music Review | posted 10.05.2016
Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band
55
On »55«, the Bacao Rhythm & Steel Band shows how good Steel Drum-Funk can function with Hip-Hop elements.
Music Review | posted 07.07.2016
BBNG (BadBadNotGood)
IV
With their new LP »IV«, BBNG (BadBadNotGood) are proving the critics wrong: their instrumental hip hop has defeated the alleged elevator-jazz.
Music Review | posted 14.02.2020
The Heliocentrics
Infinity Of Now
With »Infinity Of Now«, which has just been released by Madlib Invazions, the genius of the Heliocentrics should really get around now. To the inifinity.
Music Review | posted 09.03.2020
Pharoah Sanders
Live In Paris 1975
Pharoah Sanders recorded “Live In Paris 1975” in times of transition. This is reflected in the stylistic diversity of the recordings, but not in the playing of his quartet.
Music Review | posted 03.03.2020
Wildflower
Season 2
»Season 2«, the second album by Wildflower, with musicians from Sons Of Kemet and Ill Considered, is a meditation in exhilarated times.
Music Review | posted 20.03.2020
Matthew Tavares & Leland Whitty
Visions
The Canadians Matthew Tavares and Leland Whitty, known as part of BadBadNotGood, have released an album with »Visions«. This has what it takes to be a big hit.
Music Review | posted 30.03.2020
Phi-Psonics
The Cradle
The jazz on Phi-Psonics’ »The Cradle« inspires with almost erotic charm. We get to be introduced to a band from which we will hear even more in the future.
Music Portrait
WeWantSounds
Contagious passion
WeWantSounds has been publishing music from the 1970s and 1980s since 2015. The name of the label is a catchphrase. When the Parisian two-man company selects the reissues, genre and country borders don‘t matter.
Music Essay
Baltic & Finnish Jazz
Removing Boundaries
While jazz from London to L.A. is evolving a fresh pop sensibility or even tries to update the fusion heritage, cool flavors between new blood and nostalgia are cultivated on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Here the genre is cosmopolitan as well and yet totally distinct.
Music Portrait
International Anthem
In search of the truth
For six years the label International Anthem from Chicago has been reliably delivering jazz with their own attitude and idea. Although the founders refuse to be ascribed almost any kind of attribution to a genre. For them, the most beautiful sound is just always: the truth.
Music Portrait
We Jazz
With emphasis on We
We Jazz, that stands for edgy, surprising jazz from the north. And also not. Since 2013 the festival has been held in Helsinki, since 2016 the label was founded. Matti Nives mainly publishes Finnish bands there. And acts as one of the most important networkers of the local scene.
Music Portrait
Roy Ayers
Warm vibrations with universal attraction
The American vibraphonist, singer, songwriter and arranger Roy Ayers is one of the most sampled contemporary musicians. With songs like »Everybody Loves The Sunshine«, the soul jazz legend, which celebrates it’s 80th birthday in September, became the main inspiration for Acid Jazz in the late 90s. His new album “Roy Ayers JID 002” on Jazz Is Dead with Adrian Younge and ex-ATCQ producer Ali Shaheed Muhammad continues his golden period of the Polydor years in the 70s seamlessly.
Music Interview
Gary Bartz
»We no longer see reality«
The Grammy-winning soprano saxophonist shared the stage with Miles Davis, Art Blakey and Max Roach. Now he has recorded an album with British outfit Maisha — and discovered something new.
Music Portrait
Dekmantel
Infinite Holidays
For the better part of a decade now, the Dekmantel imprint from Amsterdam is successfully squaring the circle as label, festival and promoter of several events: Connecting innovation and underground with a quality standard that is by now globally recognized without failing its aspirations. An end? Even in times of crisis far away.
Music List
Rafael Anton Irisarri
10 All Time Favs
Ambient? Maybe. But with splinters of metal, neo-classical and other stuff. Rafael Anton Irisarri paints overwhelming sound paintings with thick brushstrokes. For us the American composer has revealed his influences.
Music Portrait
Muriel Grossmann
Abstraction with a sea view
Saxophonist Muriel Grossmann reaches abstraction on the Balearic Islands, rides the waves with hard bop and even amazes billionaires with standards. Who is the secret pioneer of the spiritual revival?
Music Portrait
Roza Terenzi
Rave in a time capsule
Roza Terenzi turns past rave days upside down and brushes it with jungle breaks and techno cuts. On »Modern Bliss« she finally ends up in the future.
Music Portrait
Soviet Grail
Collective memory
Amid jazz experiments, electronic brutalism and psychedelic underground, Sergey Klimov digs for treasures for which musicians ended up in prison. With Soviet Grail, the Russian label boss traces the history of Soviet music.
Music List
ADULT.
10 All Time Favs
ADULT. have been making music for more than 20 years now. And they still don’t want simple attributions, sunlight, self-deception. Instead they wanted to call us records, which they shaped, improved, formed.
Music Interview
Quelle Chris
Accepting the chaos
He’s the most prolific oddball of the rap underground. And he’s on fire. With »Innocent Country 2« Quelle Chris follows up on his groundbreaking record »Guns« and a process where hopelessness is contradicted by accepting a surreal anxiety.
Music List
Peaking Lights
10 All Time Favs
In these days the new album «E S C A P E» of the Peaking Lights is released on Dekmantel. We had the opportunity to ask Aaron Coyes and Indra Dunis about 10 records that they have shaped, improved and formed.
Music Portrait
Patricia Kokett
Part of his own Movement
Patricia Kokett blends rave with mysticism, futuristic industrial with shamanistic noise, the spirit of Coil with imaginary records from Kompakt Records. The music of the Lithuanian producer Gediminas Jakubka, who turns into Patricia on stage, balances between borders. An attempt at orientation.
Music List
Jeff Parker
10 All Time Favs
The guitarist Jeff Parker is no newcomer to the music scene. And yet you get the feeling he’s just starting out. But he already wrote music history as part of Tortoise. Now his new album »Suite for Max Brown« has been released on International Anthem. For this occasion we have asked Jeff Parker to choose 10 records that have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music Portrait
Kalahari Oyster Cult
The best of all possible worlds
Diving for pearls in the mud, tracking down rave classics from the nineties and working with producers for whom it doesn’t matter if the record ends up in the Beatport charts: Colin Volvert’s label Kalahari Oyster Cult mixes up the underground with its DIY ethos.
Music List
Malcolm Catto of The Heliocentrics
10 All Time Favs
The Heliocentrics have just released »Infinity Of Now«. The album has the potential to inspire future musicians. Malcolm Catto, however, has first revealed to us the records that have shaped, improved and formed him.
Music Portrait
Mad About Records
Sinfully summery
With his label Mad About the Portuguese Joaquim Paulo takes care of the really hard to find records from Jazz to Bossa Nova. With success. We introduce you to the label in detail.
Music Portrait
Blackest Ever Black
Search for alienation
Among connoisseurs of fucked up, intoxicating sounds, the record label Blackest Ever Black was appreciated like no other. IAt the end of the year 2019 it was suddenly closed. We look back on a label that musically determined the 2010s like few others.
Music Comment
RSD Black Friday 2019
12 Vinyl records to look out for
We’ve browsed through this year’s list of exclusive Record Store Day Black Friday 2019 releases and put together a selection of twelve Vinyl records that we’ve identified as possible highlights.
Music List
Polish Jazz
An introduction in 10 vinyl records
The Polish jazz scene is considered one of the most important and creative in Europe. Today it oscillates between superficial conventions and hidden ruptures. A little search for clues.
Music Essay
Women Of Jazz
We Insist Female
Women in jazz are still not a matter of course. That has to change. For in the past, female musicians have had a decisive influence on jazz and the future is also in their hands.
Music Column
Records Revisited
Lootpack – Soundpieces: Da Antidote! (1999)
The breakthrough: »Soundpieces: Da Antidote« lifted the still young West Coast label Stones Throw from the circle of experts to the cult Olympus. Now the underground classic is 20 years old.
Music Essay
British Jazz
On The Hot Spot
Jazz in Great Britain is in the midst of a generational shift. New talents from Manchester to London are revising gridlocked listening habits and are testing the limits of the genre. But why now?
Music List
Record Store Day 2019
12 releases to look out for
We’ve searched through this year’s list of releases exclusively released for Record Store Day 2019 and put together a selection of twelve records that we’ve identified as possible highlights.
Music Column
Records Revisited
J Dilla – The Shining (2006)
»The Shining« was J Dilla’s first posthumous album. You get soul, you get funk, you get the tricky stuff, and you can also get this raw rap shit. You get the infinite forms of expression that J Dilla mastered. It’s a true classic.
Music Interview
Midori Takada
Deep inward scenerys
The exceptional percussionist Midori Takada gives us an insight into the recordings and circumstances of her masterpiece »Through The Looking Glass«, which is now re-released by WRWTFWW Records in cooperation with Palto Flats.
Music Portrait
New Record Labels #26
Parallel Berlin, Power Vacuum, Superfly und Super Rhythm Trax
Every month we introduce you to labels, which we recently included in our Shop and/ or the discovery of which is worth it! The chosen ones this time around: Parallel Berlin, Power Vacuum, Superfly and Super Rhythm Trax.
Music Portrait
New Record Labels #25
Bliq, Dub Disco, Ectotherm, and Jazzaggression
Month by Month we are going to introduce you to a bunch of record labels, which are new at hhv.de webshop and/or you definitely have to discover now. The record labels this month are: Bliq, Dub Disco, Ectotherm, Jazzaggression.
Music List
Acid Arab
10 All Time Favs
We ask musicians to list and comment on 10 records by which they have been formed, bettered and educated. This time, the production collective Acid Arab takes on the task.
Music Interview
Abra
Turnt Up Art Kid
Abra comes with the charisma, the talent and the looks to become one of the great figures of pop. At the same time she’s bizarre enough to be love by those who hate Spotify. For a long time she was just one thing for many: too bizarre.
Music List
Deadbeat
10 Canadian Favorites
Deadbeat is one of the musicians who carry the torch for contemporary electronic music from Canada. There are others, there have been others. In his list Deadbeats names them – plus influntial canadian musicians from other genres.
Music Interview
Oneohtrix Point Never
The little cheese shop
»They had the skills, the church provided them with a way to make music and now we have Bach! Do we sit there now and say: ›Sucks that he branded himself?‹«. We had a lively talk with Oneohtrix Point Never.
Music List
Off the beaten tracks with...
Blond:ish
We go off the beaten tracks. In our ongoing series we give artists the space to talk about a passion which isn’t their own music. This time around Blond:ish take us with them on their travels.
Music List
Fred P
10 All Time Favs
We ask musicians to list and comment on 10 records by which they have been formed, mended and educated. This time, the producer and DJ Fred P takes on the task.
Music List
The Black Madonna
10 Classic Midwest Rave Favs
We ask musicians to list and comment on 10 records by which they have been formed, bettered and educated. This time, producer and DJ The Black Madonna takes on the task.
Music Interview
Jaakko Eino Kalevi
About Love And Other Mental Illnesses
Jaakko Eino Kalevi looks like a stoned angel in a woolie, works as a tram driver and with »No End« he released on of the best songs of 2013. About time we get to know him. A conversation about love, music and how to wash laundry.
Music Interview
The Mixfits
Turntrable Diaries # 7
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to The Mixfitz.
Music Interview
Dj Shiftee
Turntable Diaries # 6
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to DJ Shiftee.
Music Interview
Dj Switch
Turntable Diaries # 5
This year the DMC World Championships turns 30. So for that reason we like to introduce you to some of the protagonists. This time we talked to DJ Switch.