The popular Estonian jazz pianist Tõnu Naissoo has finally realized his lifelong dream of recording a jazz trio album with only electronic keyboard instruments. Accompanied by his synthesizers and two of the best Estonian jazz musicians Tõnu began recording in the autumn of 2019 at the legendary Linnahall studio that he had booked for that purpose several years in advance. The new tracks he composed for the album flow from jazz-rock to smooth jazz, lingering briefly on the frequency of free jazz.

Tõnu Naissoo has performed and recorded different styles of jazz music with different groups. He is mostly known for his acoustic piano trio albums but his heart belongs to jazz-rock, e.g. his favourite group is a U.S jazz fusion band Weather Report. Although Tõnu has collected synthesizers and other electronic keyboard instruments for years (he was the first Estonian to own Rhodes Mark I electric piano and Micromoog synthesizer) he hadn’t used them much for recordings of his favourite music style.

Jazz trio has always been Tõnu Naissoo’s favourite configuration. He performed with his first trio at Tallinn Jazz Festival of 1967 when he was only sixteen. There he was accompanied by older musicians whom his dad Uno Naissoo had introduced to him. Through the years he has performed and recorded with a variety of musicians. He chose to record the current album with two of the finest jazz musicians of the new generation: drummer Ahto Abner and bass player Mihkel Mälgand. Tõnu admits to having being impressed by Mihkel Mälgand’s bass guitar collection that introduces rock flavoured sound instead of the traditional double bass. Tõnu has also partnered with Ahto Abner on several occasions earlier. Tõnu says that the contribution of both musicians has had a profound effect on the final version of his new album.

The current album was recorded in the Linnahall studio. Linnahall is the gigantic harbour-side concert hall opened in Tallinn back in 1980. Part of the basement of the hall was converted into a state of the art recording studio that featured the latest technology of the 80s and thus became the most sought after studio amongst Estonian musicians of the time.

For those with preference for electronic music, the main attraction of the studio were the modern synthesizers. In the 1980s Tõnu himself used this studio to record the soundtracks for about 50 films and documentaries and 20 TV and theatrical productions. The local group Kaseke also used the studio to record their album “Põletus”, where Tõnu participates as a guest keyboardist for one of the tracks.

The studio is still active today and according to the musicians it appears to transport them decades back in time. On this album Tõnu plays the studio instruments Rhodes Mark II Stage 73 electric piano and Hohner Clavinet E7 keyboard.

Tõnu Naissoo was born in Tallinn in 1951. His dad Uno Naissoo was a renowned composer, who encouraged Tõnu to take an interest in jazz and improvisation. Tõnu started taking piano lessons at the music school when he was 8, and by the age of 15 he had already begun participating in local jazz orchestra and dance music band. He presented his jazz music compositions at the international Tallinn Jazz Festival of 1967 in Tallinn when he was only 16 years old. The next year he was given an opportunity to record his own album. In 1970 that album became the first Estonian jazz album to be released by Melodija on 10” record. He spent many years of 1970s as the keyboardist for the local pop group Laine. From the late 1970s onwards he has dedicated himself fully to jazz music. In 1980 Tõnu and his trio recorded the album "Turning Point" that was released by Melodija in 1981. During the past 30 years, he has recorded around 30 albums that have been released in Estonia, Japan and Russia. Most of his earliest recordings have been reissued in recent years by Jazzaggression Records. He has co-operated with other musicians on numerous LPs, e.g. ensembles Collage and Synthesis and composer Uno Naissoo and guitarist Tiit Paulus. Other noteworthy examples include a 7" and an LP of the instrumental group Kaseke that also include three jazz-rock compositions by Tõnu Naissoo. “Different Directions” feels like Tõnu Naissoo’s ’missing piece’ album from the 1980s. It will be a worthy addition to Tõnu Naissoo’s and Frotee’s discography.

FRO011 LP tracklist:

A1 Blue Rider 5:41
A2 Expedition 7:56
A3 Lazy Day 6:36

B1 Lovely Moments (True Love) 5:38
B2 Harvest Time 6:16
B3 Lucky U 6:50

FROCD2 CD tracklist:

1 Blue Rider 5:41
2 Expedition 7:56
3 Lazy Day 6:36
4 Tricky Path 7:18
5 Lovely Moments (True Love) 5:38
6 Harvest Time 6:16
7 Lucky U 6:50

Tõnu Naissoo - Rhodes, Clavinet, Moog, Prophet
Mihkel Mälgand - bass guitars
Ahto Abner - drums, electronics

Recorded at Matrix Studio, Tallinn, Estonia on September 9 & 10, 2019
Recorded and mixed by Indrek Patte
Mastered by Simon Francis
Design by Jan Tomson

Listen: Tõnu Naissoo Electric Trio "Blue Rider"


Frotee OÜ
Puiestee 11-3
Tartu 50303

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