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whatmusic.com presents ‘Universal Four’ from the truly magnificent Teddy Rok Seven, a blend of organic deep groove funk and the highest quality new soul revival, complemented generously with fine jazz horns and smart hip-hop experimentation!
  • Liner notes by Mike Chadwick (102.2 Jazz FM) – “I can’t wait to be blown away by the live experience!”
  • First ever worldwise release
  • Features Teppo Mäkynen and Ville Huolman
  • Also available on vinyl LP

Check the 30 second clips from the album...

The whatmusic.com interview...

Teddy Roks!

Every so often I get a call saying “I’m sending you an album and I’d really like to know what you think about it?” and to be quite honest the anticipation more often than not is greater than the reaction on hearing it! However when Charlie Leach from whatmusic.com called me about the album you are holding, nothing could have prepared me for my reaction on hearing the Teddy Rok Seven!

It’s a Finnish Nu Jazz project said Charlie, well talk about an understatement! As a radio presenter with an immense passion for hearing new music this album gave me that indescribable feeling immediately. I couldn’t wait for my next show to showcase and introduce this incredible album to my listeners who I know share my passion! Well known in their native Finland whatmusic.com now presents them to the rest of the musical universe.

So who are the Teddy Rok Seven? They are led by drummer Teppo Mäkynen a name that I had come across as a member of both Nuspirit Helsinki and 5 Corners Quintet. The name Teddy Rok was suggested by a friend of Teppo’s as being a great name, originally suggested as Teddy Rock, Teppo thought that the name must surely already exist so he changed the Rock to Rok and of course Seven is the number of band members.

Hailing from Helsinki, a place described by Teppo as being quite a small town where it’s easy to meet other musicians of like minds and this is the key to the album you are listening to. “Universal Four” is an album made by a group of people whom Teppo loves as musicians as much as people and with whom he wanted to attain a strong brotherhood in the studio, live and in life itself and this really comes across from the very first listen to the album.

So what about the music I hear you cry….well with influences cited as Miles Davis, DJ Shadow, George Duke, Patrice Rushen, Herbie Hancock, Pete Rock, Jay Dee(J-Dilla), Weldon Irvine, Elvin Jones and D’Angelo, Teppo went about writing the music that would acknowledge his heroes without wearing them on his drumming sleeve; an album that was essentially a live project with a few samples that would melt into the live context. Throw into the equation the fact that Teppo is also an active DJ and you have all the ingredients for the melting pot that is “Universal Four”.

I often described my radio shows as a musical mystery tour and I can definitely re-use this analogy for this album because it has focus, meaning, dynamics, enthusiasm, open-mindedness, poise and quite literally transports you to a different musical space with each listen, a feat that in this day and age is rarely achieved. Much thought and planning has obviously gone into this album to create for us as listeners a completely rewarding experience.

On first listen which unusually for me was from start to finish (Finnish lol), a luxury I don’t often afford myself due to the increasing amounts of music I have to listen to, I really felt that I’d been on a musical journey mapped out for me by these incredible musicians/singers from Finland and I immediately had to listen to it again and again until I began to feel that I knew where I was? If this doesn’t make sense try listening to just the first and last tracks “The Beginning” and “Appreciation” and then try and imagine what would come in-between and you will get some way to understanding how I felt and hopefully how you feel too!

I don’t really want to break down each track and give you my thoughts as this would be a purely subjective exercise and ultimately pointless. Just suffice to say that you will have a strong reaction/opinion to this album as I feel it would be impossible not to. Teddy Rok Seven are a Nu Jazz force to be reckoned with if this astonishing debut platter is anything to be judged by but the real jewel in the crown for me is the live aspect of the whole concept of the Teddy Rok Seven and on being so knocked out by the recording I can’t wait to be blown away by the live experience. Real Jazz sensibilities for a Nu Jazz audience, touch it, feel it, listen to it, involve yourself in it but most of all be uplifted and celebrate in the joyfulness of the incredible musical spirit that is Teddy Rok Seven!

Mike Chadwick (102.2 Jazz FM)

Recorded & mixed at Hitsville by T-mu Korpipää. Except vocals on “Feel” recorded at Montana Roja by Tuomas Kallio and “Spaces & Echoes” recorded & mixed at El Camino by Ville Riippa and James Spectrum.

Mastered by Pauli Saastamoinen at finnvox.

Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer, Hohner Clavinet E7, Hohner String melody 2, ARP omni 2, Oberheim OB-SX, Micromoog, Elka Rhapsody, Rheem Kee Bass, Roland SH-101, MPC 2000

Teppo Mäkynen aka Teddy Rok: drums, percussion, keyboards, programming, bass guitar
Abdissa Assefa: percussion
Ville Riippa: keyboards
Chauncey McBride: narration
Ville Huolman: double bass (3)
Okou: vocals
Timo Lassy: tenor sax, flute (5)
Mikko Pettinen: trumpet, fluegelhorn
Mikko Innanen: baritone sax
Sonny Heinilä: flues, bells
Jukka Eskola: fluegelhorn (5)
Jay Kortehisto: trombone
Severi Pyysalo: vibes

Special thanks to:
All the great musicians, and wonderful people who were involved, all the artists I’ve sampled and artists who gave me inspiration, peace and love. Jenni, Rekku, Mauri, Esa, Saku, Konjo, J.Perko & Viapori jazz, Father Metro, DJBB, Nuspirit Helsinki, Five Corners Quintet, Vilunki, Martsa, Timo Hirvonen, Masa Huttunen, Miikka Lommi, Make Nyberg, Mikko Suominen, Marko Timonen, Mikko Paavola, Petri Silas, Markus Partanen, Esek, Luses, Valtion Säveltaidetoimikunta, Bundolo, Wahoo, Hyus, Kisis, Salo, Sibis, Hitsville, Kumu, Soitin Laine, Reuna, God.

Special thanks from whatmusic to:
Martti Heikkinen at Toolon Musiikkitukku Oy, Mike Chadwick, and Teppo Mäkynen

©2004 whatmusic.com
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