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Recording Jazz in Finland: TUM Records

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TUM-Records-Billy-Bang-JDGTUM Records is a Finnish record company that released its first recordings in May 2003. TUM Records aims to produce high-quality music recordings and selectively organize concerts and events, including the more or less annual TUMfest in Helsinki.

The focus of TUM Records is on improvised, jazz-based music, placing particular emphasis on free expression and the performing artists´ own music. In addition to providing younger musicians with exposure and a musical platform, TUM Records also promotes more experienced musicians whose work is not favored by the commercial trends of our time, despite the fact that these musicians have a lot to offer musically.

TUM FoundersAlthough TUM Records operates on ordinary commercial principles, profit is not its goal. TUM Records´ objective is to use the proceeds from the sale of music recordings and organizing concerts for the production and publishing of new music. For this reason, TUM Records´ operations are mostly based on volunteer work and the company seeks to collaborate with other entities interested in advancing and fostering the production, performance and recording of improvised music. Accordingly, TUM Records collaborates with, for example, the Finnish Jazz Federation and other similar non-profit associations and festival organizers. Further, as the commercial potential of its recordings is limited, TUM Records´ operations are, in part, based on funding from public sources, including foundations, such as the Finnish Music Promotion Center (ESEK) and the Foundation of Finnish Music (LUSES), and prospective corporate sponsors.

TUM-Suhkan-Uhka-JDG01The first two records from TUM Records, Suhkan Uhka: Suhka (TUM CD 001) and Juhani Aaltonen Trio: Mother Tongue (TUM CD 002), were released in May 2003. Thereafter, Juhani Aaltonen & Henrik Otto Donner with Avanti!: Strings Revisited (TUM CD 003) was released in July 2003, Iro Haarla & Ulf Krokfors: Heart of a Bird (TUM CD 004) in September 2003 and Ilmiliekki Quartet: March of the Alpha Males (TUM CD 005) and Raoul Björkenheim & Lukas Ligeti: Shadowglow (TUM CD 006) in November 2003. Juhani Aaltonen, Reggie Workman & Andrew Cyrille: Reflections TUM CD 007) and Triot with John Tchicai: Sudden Happiness (TUM CD 008) were released in 2004. All of these recordings primarily contain new original music created by the participating musicians.

TUM-Bill-Laswell-JDGSince these initial releases, TUM Records has issued more than ten additional recordings continuing the mix of leading Finnish improvisers, such as Juhani Aaltonen, Raoul Björkenheim, Iro Haarla, the Ilmiliekki Quartet, Mikko Innanen and Ulf Krokfors, with projects involving established international masters, such as Ahmed Abdullah, Han Bennink, Andrew Cyrille, Greg Osby, John Tchicai and Reggie Workman. Projects currently under preparation for release include recordings by the Billy Bang Quintet, Andrew Cyrille´s Haitian Fascination, the FAB Trio, the Archie Shepp Trio and Wadada Leo Smith & Mbira as well as new recordings by Juhani Aaltonen, Iro Haarla, Mikko Innanen, Verneri Pohjola and other TUM regulars.

TUM Records uses works of Finnish artists in the covers of its records in order to visually distinguish TUM releases. For its first four releases, TUM Records used professor Juhani Linnovaara´s paintings, which were chosen in collaboration with the artist himself. The following four releases featured works by Lars-Gunnar Nordström, another internationally renowned Finnish modern painter, and since then, Kari Cavén, Visa Norros, Marika Mäkelä and Juhana Blomstedt have been featured, each providing the cover art for four successive releases.

Töölön Musiikkitukku Oy acts as the Finnish distributor of TUM Records. In addition, TUM Records has distribution in the United States, the United Kingdom and Japan. In 2010, TUM Records shall seek to secure distribution agreements at least for the other Nordic countries and other key European markets, with full international distribution as the ultimate goal. TUM Records is also in the process of beginning digital distribution of its recordings. TUM Records´ aim is to become an internationally renowned publisher of improvised music, comparable with such labels as ECM, FMP and Winter & Winter of Germany; Hat Hut of Switzerland; Incus, Leo and Ogun of the United Kingdom; and Black Saint and Soul Note of Italy.

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