No matter if they were active for less than ten years’ period and released only two full-length studio albums, The Five Corners Quintet is nevertheless one of the most important and best known Finnish line-ups in the fields of black rhythm music and jazz. Everything started in 2003 when Tuomas Kallio (Nuspirit Helsinki, Flow Festival) and DJ Antti Eerikäinen had an idea to create music by sampling that would sound like the 1960’s jazz but would still be danceable enough to played in the clubs. Kallio’s earlier band project Nuspirit Helsinki largely paved way for it.
They decided to ask experienced musicians along, such as saxophonist Eero Koivistoinen, trumpetist Jukka Eskola and keyboard player Kim Rantala (Jätkäjätkät, Giant Robot, Nuspirit Helsinki). However, it didn’t take longer than around one year and the first singles and EP release Different Corners when both the Finnish and international audience as well as world-known British radio-deejay Gilles Peterson were so charmed and impressed of their sound that a live line-up had to be built around the project. It included the aforementioned musicians, who were joined by drummer Teppo “Teddy Rok” Mäkynen (The Stance Brothers, Teddy Rok Seven, Jo Stance) and bassist Antti Lötjönen (Ricky-Tick Big Band, Timo Lassy Band, Verneri Pohjola Quintet). Later on, Kim Rantala was replaced by vibraphonist Severi Pyysalo, while saxophonist Timo Lassy took over the role of Eero Koivistoinen.
The debut album Chasin’ the Jazz Gone By was published in June 2005 and released outside Finland also in the United States, Japan and elsewhere in Europe. It was also a nominee as the album of the year on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide All Winners show. That year the band already performed at the famous London Jazz Cafessa, Flow Festival in Helsinki together with six times Grammy-nominated singer Mark Murphy as well as on Popkomm trade show in Germany, while the next year they toured Europe for the first time. Besides Murphy they collaborated with the Paris-based singer Okou. Thus The Five Corners Quintet has also toured in Asia and performed in the United States.
The second full-length effort Hot Corner (2008) was also issued internationally and was a success, although it did not reach the same popularity as the debut. However, besides only nominations this time The Five Corners Quintet received several awards, such as two Emma prizes (the Finnish equivalent to Grammys) – Jazz-Emma and The Critics’ Choice. At the time of the album release they had also performed live for around 150 times already. A similarly named EP release preceded it and another EP titled Othello, where the quintet plays music composed for the National Theater drama Othello by Kerkko Koskinen, followed it the next year with a limited press of 1000 copies. Japanese T.A.C.S. Records issued live album Jazz Heat, Bongo Beat! – The Helsinki Sessions by The Five Corners Quintet in 2010. The Finnish Ricky-Tick Records has also issued two albums including remixes of their earlier songs between 2006-2007. The famous quintet withdrew from the scene in 2010, but attracts still today more listeners and enjoys wide popularity and fame.
Text: Joonas Kervinen / Funky Finland