Ricky-Tick Big Band

A modern take on big band elegance

Let's take a trip through time and space and go to 1930s New York. Onstage at legendary Cotton Club is even more legendary Duke Ellington with his band. The big band’s passionate swing fills the room. Listeners live the music with every fibre of their being, feet stamp the floor, the brass players' hair sticks to their sweaty foreheads. The climax of the concert is approaching. The band stops for a moment, the audience goes silent. The maestro, clad in a white suit, nods from behind the piano to the bass player, runs his fingers along the keyboard and starts hammering out an exotic rhythm. Percussions repeat the beats, the trumpet begins its first phrases. The trombone answers with an oriental mood. Dark and mystical, the caravan proceeds and finally disappears into the Harlem night. The impression is strong, regardless of its realism or the lack of it. The pulse of the jazz age is still beating strong.

Undoubtedly, this image is too romantic, too exaggerated. But for the Helsinki-based Ricky-Tick Band, it is true. Valtteri Pöyhönen's orchestra is oozing old big band elegance, updated into a modern form in the band's music. The frontline of Finnish jazz, already familiar from the bands Dalindéo and Five Corners Quintet, bows humbly before their idols, but refuses to imitate them slavishly. From the shadows of the legends, the band finds its own energetic sound and performs its repertoire gracefully and unreservedly. The captivating rhythm and the shiny instruments make the senses of time and location disappear. The band's professional playing brings alive the dusky 1930s New York in the middle of Joensuu's nightless summer night. The tunes turn the mud-covered festival shorts into double-breasted pinstripe suits and tatty miniskirts into long, elegant evening dresses. And just there, near the stage roof, that must be the image of Duke himself – and he's smiling.


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Ricky-Tick Big Band