On Internet since 1999
The Birka Jazz Archive
Records we have bought and sold over the years - the rare and the beautiful!
Birka Jazz record store is closed but Birka Jazz Archive is still available. Scroll down and use the links to browse this comprehensive archive of rare jazz album covers
Plenty of merged styles in Finnish jazzThe merge of jazz and rock in the 1970s was more obvious in Finland than in many other countries. The Finnish music scene was dominated by progressive rock and funk that could just as well be called jazz. Many jazz musicans became improvising soloists in rock groups. A driving force in this movement was a record company, Love Records, wich was led by jazz musicians who did not seem to make any difference between rock and jazz.
This mixture of different musical styles was not a new thing in Finland. It had been heard before in Finnish jazz.
In fact, there was not much jazz in Finland in the 1940s and 50s. Bebop or hardbop never really arrived. Small combos with featured vocalist dominated the scene and they played dance music or so called "jazz schlager". It was a combination of American jazz and popular muisic, East European and Russian music, Finnish traditional dance music, and Jewish klezmer.
Real jazz in the 1960sHowever, the 1960s brought forth a new generation who created real jazz music. Talanted young musicians like Esa Pethman, Heikki Sarmanto, Eero Koivistoinen and Otto Donner started to compose original compositions, combining hard bop, modal and free jazz with Finnish folk music.
Esa Pethman´s album The Modern Sound of Finland in 1965 is an example of this new musical language. His music is influenced by both folk music and the Finnish romantic composers of the 1910´s. And the album For Friends and Relatives by Christian Schwindt Quintet (with Otto Donner and Heikki Sarmanto) shows Finnish hardbop at its best in the mid 1960s.
In the last half of the 1960s the popularity of jazz in Finland diminished, but the way was opened. Eero Koivistoinen issued several LPs and groups led by Pethman, Pekka Pöyry and Edward Vesala succeeded abroad in contests and festivals. Other young talented Finnish jazz musicians were Juhani Aaltonen, Seppo Paakunainen and Pekka Sarmanto,
Prog rock with improvised jazz solosIn the early 1970s many Finnish jazz musicians started to combine jazz, rock and funk. The music of bands like Tasavallen Presidentti and Wigwam is generally regarded as progressive rock, but in fact they played a music close to fusion jazz. In concerts they played a lot of improvised music and had soloists such as Jukka Tolonen and Pekka Pohjola.
Eero Koivistoinen continued in the 1970s with albums like Wahoo and The Front Is Breaking, which gave him a name in the jazzfunk world. The biggest name in Finnish jazzfunk was pianist Olli Ahvenlahti. He managed to inhale the laidback attitude of the genre and exhale a groovy breath of air in his albums Bandstand and The Poet.
In 1975 the UMO jazz orchestra was founded. This professional big band gave an opportunity to many Finnish players to earn their living as a full-time jazz musicians. UMO has also invited many top international jazz names to conduct the orchestra and to educate its players and Finnish composers and arrangers.
Own dialect of jazzAmong Finnish musicians who cultivating their own dialect of jazz was Edward Vesala. In collaborating with foreign musicians like Peter Brötzmann and Tomasz Stanko, he contributed in several fine entry points of the era such as Hot Lotta and Balladyna.
In the 1980s Finnish musicians were more and more playing with foreign jazz musicians. For instance bassist Teppo Hauta-Aho worked with musicians such as Cecil Taylor and Alex von Schlippenbach. Other Finnish musicians, such as Heikki Sarmanto and Jukka Linkola, composed works that combined elements of jazz and clasical musik.
LOVE RECORDS was founded in 1966 by a Finland-Swedish trio, the jazzmusicians Christian Schwindt and Otto Donner and the journalist Atte Blom. The famous logo was designed by Harri Manner.
The label was pionering in Finnish rock music but also issued jazz, political and ethnic music. Among the first LPs were the legendary Blues Section with Eero Koivistoinen, and the Swedish jazz pianist Lars Werner.
In the 1970s, Love Records issued most of the important Finnish progressive rock and jazzfunk. Before the label went bankrupt in 1979 they had released almost 400 LPs and as many singles and EPs.
Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive
Esa Pethman: The Modern Sound of Finland
Label: RCA Victor LSP 10040 12" LP 1965
Jazz in Helsinki with Ossi Malinen, Antero Stenberg a.o.
Label: HMV 7EGY 29 7" EP 1958
Ossi Malinen: Jazz made in Finland.
Label: HMV 7EGY 64 7" EP 1959
Juhani Vilkki: Jazz.
Label: Parlophone EP 416 7" EP 1965
C. Schwindt: For Friends and Relatives
Label: RCA Victor LSP 10070 12" LP 1965
Lars Werner och hans vänner
Label: Love Records 2 12" LP 1967
Eero Koivistoinen: Valtakunta
Label: Otava OTA LP 66 12" LP 1968
Heikki Sarmanto: Flowers in the Water
Label: EMI Columbia 5E 062-34044 12" LP 1969
Eero Koivistoinen: Odysseus
Label: Otava OTA LP 69 12" LP 1969
Eero Koivistoinen: For Children
Label: Otava OTA LP 72 12" LP 1969
Eero Koivistoinen: 3rd Version
Label: RCA Victor YFLP 1-804 12" LP 1970
Edward Vesala: Nana
Label: Blue Master 125 12" LP 1970
Heikki Sarmanto: Counterbalance
Label: EMI Odeon 5E 062-34306 12" LP 1971
Eero Koivistoinen: The Original Sin
Label: Scandia SLP 561 12" LP 1971
Label: Love Records LRLP 44/45 12" LP 1971
Seppo Paakkunainen: Nunnu
Label: Blue Master 301 12" LP 1971
Vesa-Matti Loiri: 4+20
Label: Finnlevy SFLP 9513 12" LP 1971
Heikki Sarmanto: Like a Fragonard
Label: EMI Odeon 5E 062-34479 12" LP 1971
Jukka Tolonen: Tolonen!
Label: Love Records LRLP 47 12" LP 1971
Heikki Sarmanto: Everything Is It
Label: EMI Odeon 5E 062-34640 12" LP 1972
Hacke Björksten: Happy!
Label: RCA Victor YFPL 1-802 12" LP 1972
Pekka Streng: Kesämaa
Label: Love Records LRLP 67 12" LP 1972
Vesa-Matti Loiri: Vesku Suomesta
Label: Finnlevy SFLP 9527 12" LP 1972
Pekka Pohjola: Pihkasilmä Kaarnakorva
Label: Love Records LRLP 71 12" LP 1972
Eero Koivistoinen: Wahoo!
Label: RCA Victor YFLP 1-806 12" LP 1973
Peter Brötzmann: Hot Lotta
Label: Blue Master Special 241 12" LP 1973
Edward Vesala: I'm Here
Label: Blue Master Special 311 12" LP 1973
Esa Helasvuo: Think - Tank - Funk
Label: Finnlevy SFLP 8540 12" LP 1973
Heikki Sarmanto: Onnen Aika
Label: EMI Columbia 5E 062-34903 12" LP 1973
Esa Helasvuo: Omat Hommat
Label: Love Records LRLP 107 12" LP 1974
Pekka Pohjola: Harakka Bialoipokku
Label: Love Records LRLP 118 12" LP 1974
Juhani Aaltonen: Etiquette
Label: Love Records LRLP 119 12" LP 1974
Eero Koivistoinen, Allan Botschinsky, Esko Linnavalli a.o.: Day Is Over
Olli Ahvenlahti: Bandstand
Label: Love Records LRLP 126 12" LP 1975
Label: Love Records LRLP 148 12" LP 1975
UMO: Our Latin Friends
Label: Konserttikeskus KKLP 175 12" LP 1976
Esko Linnavalli New Music Orchestra
Label: Finnlevy 9590 12" LP 1976
Mike Koskinen: Sunwebs
Label: Love Records LRLP 157 12" LP 1976
Pori Big Band Live 1976
Label: Porijazz PJPLP 1 12" LP 1976
Juhani Aaltonen - Otto Donner: Strings
Label: Love Records LRLP 160 12" LP 1976
Olli Ahvenlahti: The Poet
Label: Love Records LRLP 168 12" LP 1976
Esa Helasvuo: Q
Label: Love Records LRLP 201 12" LP 1977
Thad Jones - Mel Lwis å UMO
Label: RCA PL 40096 12" LP 1977
Juhani Aaltonen: Prana. Live at Groovy
Label: Leo Records 013 12" LP 1981
Vladimir Shafranov: Live at Groovy
Label: Kompass KOLP 35 12" LP 1981
Umo New Music Orchestra
Label: Finnley FL 5123 12" LP 1985
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