Spirit Of New Orleans Productions
Traditional New Orleans Jazz With A 21st Century Flavor

Spirit Of New Orleans
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Risto Salmi
Saxophonist Risto Salmi has played with almost all imaginable kind of ensembles. He has worked with a lot of different jazz bands, theater productions, TV shows, and studio bands. He has a wonderful sense of style and is equally at home with many different, even the most traditional idioms of jazz. While playing traditional jazz, he sounds very much like himself and is keen to spice up classic N.O. numbers with Coltrane licks. This musical chameleon has played over the years on all the major jazz festivals in Finland and international festivals in for example Brazil, New Zealand, and Denmark.

Other collaborations include Helsinki City Theatre, Sinfonia Lahti, Finnish National Theatre, Comedy Theatre Arena, Riku Niemi Orchestra, folk music group Luna Nova, Vantaa Entertainment Orchestra, The Great Helsinki Swing Band, Antti Sarpila Swing Band, Tapani Kansan Orchestra, Django's Four, Kajaani Quartet, Reine Rimón & Her Hot Papas, DDT Jazz Band, and Olli Ahvenlahti Orchestra. Salmi can heard on various recordings with artists like CMX, Ismo Alanko & Osuuskuntaorkesteri, Timo Alakotila, Carita Holmström, Annika Hultman, Opera Big Band, Samuli Edelman, Ami Aspelund, Mikko Kilkkinen, Charlies, Marion Rung, Martin Brushane, Tomi Markkola, Aija Puurtinen, Jorma Kääriäinen, Swing Gentlemen, Pentti Lasanen, Timo Turpeinen, Marko Lämsä, Jarmo Hynninen, Eino Grön, Heidi Kyrö, Kaija Pohjola, Johanna Pakonen, Matti Esko, and Kari Tapio.



Katja Toivola
Trombonist Katja Toivola has been acquainted with the music styles of New Orleans for over fifteen years. She made her first visit to the Crescent City in 1995, and now divides her time between her two hometowns: Helsinki and New Orleans. Toivola has played with the Riverside Rascals, a popular Finnish jazz band since 1996, and has been leading her own bands; the New Orleans Helsinki Connection and the Spirit Of New Orleans since 2001.

In July 2002, Toivola performed in Switzerland with the German Wim's Paradise Jazz Band and in February 2006 and December 2007 in France with Patrick Bensoussan's Big Beat Band. 2006 also saw her playing at the legendary Preservation Hall where she now regularly performs on Friday nights. In the spring of 2008 she did a 2-week tour in Australia and in 2008 and 2009 it was Brazil's turn (São Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Aracaju and Recife).

She has performed in New Zealand, Switzerland, Fiji, France, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, Australia, Brazil and Norway and on most of the Finnish jazz festivals (Pori Jazz, April Jazz, Ruskaswing, Linna-Jazz, Korpo Sea Jazz, Ylläs Jazz Blues, Jyväskylä Summer Jazz, Helsinki Classic Jazz Festival, Imatra Big Band Festival...). She works as a freelance musician around Helsinki and New Orleans.



Jarkko Palokas
Guitarist Jarkko Palokas returned to Finland in the spring of 2001 after graduating from the Berklee School Of Music, where he studied for three years. For the moment, Palokas works as a freelance musician and a guitar teacher in Helsinki. His approach to New Orleans jazz is very fresh and tasteful; his musical and technical abilities and a very good sense of style and use of space are of great importance to the band's sound.



Jussi Harju
Sousaphonist Jussi Harju has been elected the jazz tubist of the year five times in a row in the critic's poll of the Finnish Jazzrytmit-magazine. His technical ability makes the tuba sound almost like an upright bass at times and he is equally at home playing straight-a-head swing and two beat grooves. Harju has played with many different bands; from traditional jazz to military music to funk to free jazz - as he himself puts it. He has been influenced by traditional New Orleans bands, new wave brass bands like the ReBirth and the Dirty Dozen, and by tuba players like Bob Steward. In the spring of 2002, Harju made his first visit to the Crescent City where he had the chance to deepen his knowledge of New Orleans' music.


Thomas Rönnholm
Thomas Rönnholm
got acquainted with New Orleans' music tradition through recordings and New Orleans musicians visiting Finland. He has spent a lot of time in the Crescent City absorbing influences; nowadays he is one of the best and hardest swinging New Orleans style drummers in Finland. In his playing, Rönnholm successfully combines elements of different N.O. drummers like Shannon Powell and Gerald French. Rönnholm was also supplying the grooves for the New Orleans - Helsinki Connection's tour in June 2002. Over the years, Rönnholm has worked with a variety of Finnish jazz bands like the Riverside Rascals, the Old Time Jazz Band, and the New Orleans Ramblers.



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Web design: Katja Toivola
© 2005-2010 Spirit Of New Orleans Productions
Last updated: March 18, 2010