Multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor (real name Lassi Lehto) came up with his artist name by combining his youth idol Jimmy Osmond and main instrument tenor saxophone. He is one of the internationally most distinguished Finnish black rhythm music artists who has been known of performing annually on hundreds of occasions all over the world but much more rarely in Finland nowadays.
The debut album by Jimi Tenor & His Shamans was titled Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres and published in 1988. Thus Jimi Tenor has released more than dozen of solo albums as well as several collaborative albums with different artists and bands. Besides The Shamans, these include for example Berlin-based Kabu Kabu orchestra, afrobeat legend Tony Allen (who passed away in 2020), soul singer Nicole Willis, funk and soul bande The Soul Investigators, reputed UMO Jazz Orchestra and highly respected electrojazz pioneer Tapani Rinne.
The music of Jimi Tenor can be most of all described as eclectic. Since the industrial electronic music soundscapes of The Shamans he has constantly added more and more influences very open-mindedly. For example the year 2000 album Out of Nowhere was recorded in Warsaw, Poland together with the The Łódź Symphony Orchestra.
During the first decade after millennium Tenor started working together with Rhythm Taxi orchestra, based in Germany and consisting of mostly West African musicians. Later on the band was renamed as Kabu Kabu. This collaboration has developed Jimi Tenor’s music more towards afrobeat, and they have released several albums together during the years.
Besides his afrobeat projects with Kabu Kabu, Jimi Tenor makes groovy rhythm music from his own perspective like on the critically acclaimed album Aulos he released in 2020. However, he has equally maintained his affinity towards electronic music as well, as it is evident on the albums Multiversum (2022) and Metamorpha (2020). Altogether, Jimi Tenor’s activeness and discography are unparalleled among the Finnish rhythm music artists.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland