Sointi Jazz Orchestra is a newish group, formed by young professional musicians and led by composer-arranger Rasmus Soini.
Soini, a Savonlinna native, formed the nearly 20-member group in 2013 to have an orchestra to realise his musical ideas. The fact that Sointi Jazz Orchestra is composed of freelance musicians makes it a rare phenomenon in the Finnish jazz scene. Despite its size Soini does not want to define the orchestra as a conventional big band, rather, he wants to highlight their aim to approach big band music from a fresh angle, and his own philosophy to compose music where each player’s personality can be heard.
This method, advocated by such greats as Duke Ellington and Maria Schneider, has been received well by the members, and the group has established itself in a short time.
Stylistically, Sointi Jazz Orchestra draws from numerous sources. Influences from classical music are fused with the Afro-American music tradition and spiced up with some echoes from Finnish folk music for a near-cinematic outcome. Soini’s arrangements and compositions have been previously performed by Savonlinna Big Band, Tapiola Youth Symphony Orchestra and Metropolia Big Band. In December 2014, Sointi Jazz Orchestra premiered a retake of the classic Christmas play, the Star Boy’s Singing Procession, arranged and partially recomposed by Soini and the drummer Siiri Partanen.
Part of Sointi Jazz Orchestra’s philosphy is to collaborate with artists from across the field of arts. This is why visuals often play a conspicuous role in their concerts.