Jo Stance live
Johanna Försti, voc / Teppo Mäkynen, dr / Timo Lassy, t-sax / Jukka Eskola, tmp / Petri Puolitaival b-sax / Rocka Merilahti, g / Tero Palo, b.
Jo Stance is a fresh project by upcoming Finnish vocalist Johanna Försti and drummer-producer Teppo "Teddy Rok" Mäkynen. Already their first single release "Hey Girl!" on Helsinki’s Ricky-Tick Records caught the ears of tastemakers like Brooklyn’s Daptone collective and California’s KCRW radio, and the debut LP released in late 2010 displayed a full array of music that’s vintage-savvy yet of-the-day, and brimming with unique energy. Already a hit in their native Finland, the seven-piece Jo Stance live band is set to be a fixture on the international scene as well.
Johanna Försti is a charismatic singer, who has been a mainstay in the Finnish scene for some time already, making a strong impact with her rare brand of charisma and impeccable vocal skills. "Jo Stance" is her first solo album proper. The record was co-produced, written, and conceived by Försti and Teppo "Teddy Rok" Mäkynen, the man behind Ricky-Tick's lauded The Stance Brothers pseudonym, and the drummer in many of the best plus brightest combos in the lively fauna of Finnish Jazz such as The Five Corners Quintet.
Live, the dynamic duo welcome on stage an additional troupe of five artists that have a knack at ”giving it some” should the need arise. Tenor sax man Timo Lassy and trumpet player Jukka Eskola are jazz heavyweights on their own right as well as on the ranks of The Five Corners Quintet, Ricky-Tick Big Band, et al. On baritone sax, Petri Puolitaival from Dalindèo keeps the low end well in place at the horn section. Guitarist Rocka Merilahti and bass player Tero Palo are highly-regarded as session men and stage personae in the local soul and funk circles.
The sound of Jo Stance is instantly approachable, and at the same time deep and filled with innovation. The vintage mood is matched by first-rate songwriting and on stage, the charismatic septet adds just the right amount jazz and RnB-ish grit to the operation to make things click big time. Think hard-groovin’ modern jazz, think classic soul with a twist, think raw rock n’ roll vocalism, think lush vocal harmonies and joyously ringing bicycle bells on a hot summer’s night. You’ll get close, but no cigar still because the totality here isn’t to be achieved by summing up the parts. Försti’s sheer born vocal stardom, Mäkynen’s snap on the drum kit, and the band’s tighter-than-tight groove seal the deal.
All of the Jo Stance shows thus far in their hometown of Helsinki have been steadily sold out, and it seems that the upcoming Finnish dates follow the same trend. Judging from the enthusiastic reception of the LP outside of Finland as well, things should be picking up for the band abroad soon as well.
Make no mistake, the Jo Stance live band is a winner.