Sunday, August 17, 2008

Digital Ten Years After - Still Going Strong

It was party time on August 15, 2008 at Kaapelitehdas in Helsinki.

With disappearing of Digital Equipment Corp. (DEC) from the business map its Finnish subsidiary was closed exactly 10 years ago. 250 ex-DECcies gathered at Kaapelitehdas restaurant to reminisce and enjoy food, drinks, music and each other's company. The organizing committee undertook a huge task in putting it all together, and everything worked out to perfection. Thank you Tiina, Sirpa, Kaj and Pältsy.

Although I worked for DEC in Finland in 1974-77 I met also many ex-DECcies whom I got to know while I was working at Headquarters in Maynard, Mass.

Enjoyed talking with (at least) following "old-timers" from the golden period, the formative years of DEC Finland:

Marketta Forssell, Antti Halila, Göran Hietarinta, Raimo Kajanen, Tuija Karviala, Helinä Lehmann, Calle Lindqvist, Sven-Erik Nyberg, Matti Pätäri, Pekka Roine (all the way from Geneva), Hannu Tamminen (another European vagrant) and Martti Vainio.

Why am I posting this in my music blog? During the cause of festivities "Digibandi" of ex-DECcies was playing with great groove and success. Among others, Pasi Leino was in base and Jokke Lahtiranta in drums. I had a pleasure to play with Jokke two weeks earlier at Otava Jazz camp; that is the connection.

I hope to get my hands on some pictures from the party to be posted here.

Like several participants here, I had the pleasure attending the German/Internat'l DEC gathering in Berlin last September. This was in Helsinki was another memorable DEC-night, thanks you everyone.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Otava Jazz Camp 2008

Spent last week again at Otava Jazz Camp as I have done since 1996 missing only a couple of summers. Otavan Opisto (a junior college) is located in St. Michaels, Finland and the natives are friendly. The college personnel are very helpful and want to create a pleasant environment for jazz studies.

The student group consisted of some 50 players and singers divided into six combos. And the singers had an a Capella nonet, too. I knew most of the students from the past courses although there were some newcomers, too. There was plenty of laughing and good spirits as before.

The theme for this course was "time". The topic was competently introduced by the course leader Wade Mikkola and visiting teacher from Canada, Alan Matheson. I had a chance to talk with Alan several times. He also gave a clinic to all wind players together with trombonist Pekka Leander. Alan is a very pleasant and interesting person besides being a top-notch musician, composer and arranger.

Wade Mikkola, bass
Alan Matheson, trp and piano

I was placed in a group coached by pianist Lasse Hirvi. Lasse was new at Otava, but demonstrated his skills and experience very fast. He was a patient teacher who found ways to get his message across and get the program ready for the performance.

At Wednesday night we performed in the nearby Kissakoski restaurant three pieces:
  • D.C. Farewell by Richie Cole
  • Them There Eyes (with vocalist Helena Tuokkola)
  • Our delight by Tadd Dameron
The performance was well received and the audience acknowledged the solos, too. In this combo we had:
Mikko Heikkinen, accordion
Matti Haatanen, vibraphone
Jouko Lahtiranta, drums
Antti Teinilä, bass
Veli-Pekka Kuuranne, trumpet
Hannu Luukannel, trombone and
Harri Rautiainen, alto and tenor sax

TuuliOverall the week was hard work, but also plenty of fun. I think that the results and standards were raised from the year before. The course secretary Tuuli Mäenpää took care of all possible and impossible requests; my thanks to Tuuli (on the left).

Did I miss something? Yes, a saxophone teacher would have been nice to have there.
Would I go next year again. You bet!