UMO Jazz Orchestra with Michael Brecker: Live in Helsinki 1995

UMO released a live album featuring sax legend Michael Brecker in 2015.

A live recording of UMO Jazz Orchestra and sax legend Michael Brecker (1949-2007) called Live in Helsinki 1995 is set for release this coming fall. The concert was recorded at the recently opened Royal Cotton Club in Helsinki in October 1995. The recording was produced by Finnish Broadcasting Company Yle and the release is UMO’s first from Yle’s archices to feature an international soloist. It’s also Brecker’s first live album fronting a big band.

The record features compositions by Michael Brecker, Horace Silver, Vince Mendoza and Kirmo Lintinen, among others, with styles ranging from bebop to funk and ballads. Brecker was invited to Finland by Rich Shemaria, who was UMO Jazz Ochestra’s conductor of that time.

The record is released by US-based label Random Act Records, with a release in Germany and the United States set for September. Ten percent of the profits will be donated to Love Hope Strength Foundation, whose purpose is to raise funds and awareness in order to benefit people with cancer or leukaemia. Brecker’s brother, trumpet player Randy Brecker and widow Susan Brecker have been closely involved in the release process.

A record release concert will be held on Friday 18th September at Savoy Theater in Helsinki. The concert will feature tenor saxophonist Manuel Dunkel, who as a young man of 24 and as a new member of UMO Jazz Orchestra engaged in a fierce battle with Brecker, whom he greatly admired, all captured on this recording.

“This is Michael Brecker and UMO at their very best. You can tell Mike is having a blast and is being pushed to his limit at the same time… Listen to the trading with Manuel Dunkel on “Ginare”. Off the charts, and worth the price of admission alone! There is just exceptional playing and writing from everyone, and this CD is testament to the long term excellence of UMO. As for Michael Brecker he never had a dull moment of playing in his professional life… and this live recording shows him to be at the very top of his game… All I can say is WOW! Wow… yes that’s “wow” twice!” – Randy Brecker

“Inspiring skills and gorgeous ballads.” – Jukka Hauru, Helsingin Sanomat 22nd October 1995


Esko Heikkinen Trumpetti

Manuel Dunkel Tenorisaksofoni

Markku Kanerva Kitara

Markku Veijonsuo Pasuuna

Markus Ketola Rummut

Michael Brecker Tenorisaksofoni

Mikael Långbacka Bassopasuuna

Mikko Mustonen Pasuuna

Mikko Mäkinen Saksofoni

Pekka Laukkanen Pasuuna

Pekka Pohjola Sähköbasso

Pekka Sarmanto Basso

Pentti Lahti Saksofoni

Pertti ”Pepa” Päivinen Bassosaksofoni

Ricardo Padilla Perkussiot

Rich Shemaria Kapellimestari

Sami Pöyhönen Trumpetti

Seppo Kantonen Piano, Koskettimet

Teemu Salminen Saksofoni

Tero Saarti Trumpetti

Timo Paasonen Trumpetti

Recorded: 1995
Published 2015
Publisher: Random Act Records
Publisher code: RAR1018CD
Studio: Royal Cotton Club, Helsinki (live)