cover tuomi - Tightrope Walker

Tightrope Walker
15 FEB 2005

Traumton CD 4480
EAN/UPC 705304565629



  • 1. Romance 4:14
  • 2. Golden Brown 4:09
  • 3. Tight-Rope-Walker 6:05
  • 4. Carlos (Sweet) 5:27
  • 5. Where Cupid Got New Fire 2:57
  • 6. A Thing On A String ( Machine Ballerina) 1:20
  • 7. Rid My Pain 8:13
  • 8. Two Of One 3:14
  • 9. Bela In The Desert 1:46
  • 10. Bridal Ballad 5:37


Music 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10, Text 8: Carsten Daerr
Music 2, 4: Carlos Bica
Music 9: Béla Bartók
Music + Text 6: Suzanne Vega
Lyrics 2, 3: Kristiina Tuomi Lyrics 4: Kristiina Tuomi + Ana Brandão
Lyrics 9: Kristiiina Tuomi + Corinna Reich
Lyrics 1, 10: Edgar Allen Poe
Lyrics 7: William Skakespeare

Tracks 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 10: Published by Traumton Musikverlag
Track 2: Published by Edition Mawi
Recorded at Vagnsson Studios, Hamburg by Hrólfur Vagnsson


Kristiina Tuomi voice
Carsten Daerr piano
Carlos Bica doublebass


Huge is the boom Scandinavian singers have triggered in the past few years. Rebekka Bakken, Kari Bremnes, Rigmor Gustafsson or Cæcilie Norby – Names like these are currently luring German jazz audiences into music halls and record stores, zealously forming a new definition of contemporary »Euro-Jazz« and effortlessly cutting its umbilical cord from the US schools. Until now the Finnish faction has been conspicuously missing on this new top team of noble Nordic voices. Kristiina Tuomi presents herself as an exciting and original vocalist who puts Finland on the map of modern jazz song-writing – and this with trans-European flair and poetry from Poe to Shakespeare. A »Tight-Rope-Walker« is what the title of Tuomi´s debut album heralds, and the 27 year-old’s artistic biography already reads very much like a balancing act. As an autodidact, the daughter of a Finnish mother and German father discovered music relatively late, studying at the Free Arts University in Berlin. From opera to jazz all the way over to pop and dance-floor productions, this up-and-coming artist quickly developed her talents. With Stefan Goldmann, she romped in the realms of deep house and electro, and advanced to a favourite on BBC play lists with the Berlin electronic act »Paloma«. She started up her Scandinavian indie-pop band by the name of »Seazoo« with wandering fellow countryman Kalle Kalima, by trade already guitarist for Jimi Tenor or Tomasz Stanko. And just as her clear, expressive, but at the same time sensitive voice can be impressively effective over louder beats, she is equally at home in an acoustic ambient: The trio »So Weiss« with Braunschweiger saxophonist Susanne Folk and double-bass player Roland Fidezius from Berlin, with its outstanding German-English spoken-word put to music, is evidence of this – and now her new three-piece band as well, with which she recorded her first CD under her own name.

A trans-European diagonal of a very special class joins hands on »Tight-Rope-Walker«: Finland - Germany – Portugal is the »axis of sound« for this session, which took place in Hamburg´s Vagnsson Studios.

As master of the keys, Berlin’s new discovery Carsten Daerr takes charge. After a classical musical education he embarked on an independent path, allowing himself to be influenced by post-bop master Kenny Kirkland, by Hancock or Metheny and at the same time taking a wide terrain of inspiration from the classics - from Schubert and Olivier Messiahs all the way to Morton Feldman. He says that he even mixes nature and city noises into his sounds. His creative team-working began during his jazz piano and composition studies at the University of Arts (among others under Hubert Nuss and Maria Schneider), and today he can boast collaborations with countless greats of the guild, among them Bobby McFerrin or Marc Wyand. Beside his work in jazz, Daerr is also active as a composer for New Music. »Berliner« originality instead of US-fixed tradition-consciousness. Daerr manages to make even the most adventurous changes sound round, »casually original« raves the Rolling Stone. And the magazine Keyboards certifies Daerr’s playing to have »enormously harmonic and pianistic imagination which creates a new bridge between European art, music and jazz.» »Tight-Rope-Walker« lives quite significantly from Daerr’s flexible range between abstract chord power and his gift of melodic accompaniment.

The tremendously ever- singing, sometimes springing, and then again earthy fundament is provided by Carlos Bica. The Portuguese, elected Jazz Musician of the Year 1998 in his homeland, has been very well-known in international circles since the debut of his trio Azul (with guitarist Frank Möbius and drummer Jim Black) in the year 1996. In his »Azul« project he meshed jazz, rock and ethnic sounds with the heritage of his home, but also acquired merits in song-writing through his cooperation with singer Ana Brandão. Bica has played with many of the greats at home and abroad, from Portugal’s vocal icon Maria João and Fado singer Carlos Do Carmo, to stars of jazz like Ray Anderson, Aki Takase or Kenny Wheeler.

Finally the versatility of Kristiina Tuomi’s vocal power: She masters breathy ballad-like tones just as much as a girlish-coquettish mood, and brilliant is her ability to intensify from restrained to powerfully expressive passages. The German-Finn slips into many characters during her highly diversified repertoire. This usually comes from Carsten Daerr’s studio, using purely original compositions as well as falling back on a suspenseful literary spectrum. Solemn, stately tones in Shakespeare put-to-music, a noise miniature that paraphrases a Suzanne Vega song, echoes of Bartók, flanked by two Poe poems that form a tremendous brace around the opus with their pensive character. Without for even a minute allowing herself to copy her singing Scandinavian sisters, Kristiina Tuomi contributes original facets and multifariously new impulses to that ever-so-popular Nordic-coloured jazz of our day.

Listening Tipps:
1. Romance: The fantastically flowing lead-in ballad pays new tribute to the young Edgar Allen Poe´s cryptic hymns to nature, written in 1829.
3. Tight-Rope-Walker: Brilliant suspense is inherent in this title song - the piano sparkles in the highest range with the bass playing around it like a voice, until Kristiina Tuomi comes in on this dramatic fundament with her story of the staggering protagonist. Block chords and bass-staccato spiral furiously upwards until the turbulencereturns to calm with the last cascades of the piano.
4. Carlos (Sweet): Tuomi plays out her breathy gentle timbre in this dancingly simple, light-footed number penned by Bica, who also serves up a lyrical solo here. An unexpectedly noisy interlude livens up the end.
7. Rid My Pain: A masterpiece of classical poetry adaptation - Shakespeares Sonnet 139, one of those intensive love poems dedicated to his ominous »Dark Lady« strides forth in proud melancholy dignity.

© Traumton Records


»…Germany and scandinavia meet in the gene-pool of an interresting new singer: mother Finn, father German, grown up in Berlin. On her Cd debut, after all 27 years old, Kristina Tuomi has already experienced quite a lot – Indiepop, Deephouse, Elektronika. Strange somehow, one doesn’t hear any of that on »Tightrope Walker«.
She carries her songs almost completely in the sector of art-songs – but even not completely. For you will neither find an almost folky voice, so free from pathos and attitude, nor the improvisatory freedom the highly sensitive pianist Carsten Daerr is given in them.
Equally included in this most disciplined chamber-music on bass, is the Portuguese Carlos Bica. For the most part the trio writes its music and lyrics on its own, but also sets Shakespeare and Poe into music or adapts compositions by Bela Bartok or Suzanne Vega, The thoughtful interpretation of the lyrics, which with musical style-quotations ranging from the late renaissence to a moderate modernity of the early 20th century, leading to completely different characters, is obviously obliged to the romantic song-tradition.
Kristina Tuomi’s dream is that her name will instantly be associated with a certain ambiance, as it is for Max Raabe or Portishead (never before were those two names lumped together). She already succeeded – only enough people need to hear it.«
FAZ: Pygmäenmusik kann auch schön sein, Frau Magister | Ulrich Olshausen | 23.07.2005

»A sensational debut, beyond any stilistic association«

»The most sensual temptation in jazz lately…«
Melodie & Rhythmus | 2005/04

»The young finnish singer Kristina Tuomi knows how to fascinate with her songs as well as with a sensitive interacting trio-instrumentation with the pianist Carsten Daerr and the bass player Carlos Bica.«
Jazzzeitung - Critics Choice | Bert Noglik, MDR | 2005/04

»Scandinavians are roughing up europeen jazz for years now. Only the Finns remained till now in elegant retention. Now they’re sending Kristina Tuomi and she instantly wins us over, willingly we take her in and she won’t let us loose. Her moss-green eyes contain a promis, hold wide nature, her debut holds diamonds, clarity and melancholy. The 27 year old singer, as all-round talented as her two excellent musicians Carsten Daerr (p) and Carlos Bica (b), knows how to easily combine jazz, classical modernity and sensually-intelligent songwriting.
One’s soul feels comfortable in this infinity. Ten songs, for the most part composed by themselves, especially by Daerr, two musical versions of Poe, and borrowings from Bartók and Vega: so beautiful, it moves to tears. Welcome tightrope artist!«
Kulturnews | (jan) | 3/2005

»Some of our ›representatives‹ take any advantage in these turbulent times to drivel about ›the failure of the multi-cultural experiment‹ and ›parallel-societies‹. They tend to ignore that there are countless examples of inspired cultural exchange. One of them: Tuomi, a finnish-german-portuguese trio from the melting-pot Berlin that, beside their own lyrics, perform lines by two ingenious writers from England and The United States. Singer Kristina Tuomi, the pianist Carsten Daerr and the bass player Carlos Bica put on their album ›Tightrope Walker‹ Shakespeare sonetts and Edgar Allen Poe poems into music. ›Our sound developed from an art-song-approach to some kind of improvised music, jazz and folksongs‹, Carsten Daerr explains the stilistic direction of the trio. ›The aesthetics and the functioning, something that developes out of the moment, does come from jazz, but concerning the singing, I’d rather assign myself to pop‹, adds Kristina Tuomi, who studied jazz and beside the trio is active in the popband Seazoo and another jazz-trio. From the specified, most oppositional musical elements, the band created a homogene sound in which the gloomy prevailing mood doesn’t clobber you over the head but in a wondrous way sounds easy. What started as a duo and then was made a trio with a cellist was ›pure melancholy then‹. But when the cello disappeared in a suitcase towards Hamburg, a new entrant brought light into the murk of Tuomi : the bass player Carlos Bica. ›After all he’s a Portuguese and as a southerner he adds his own pieces which sometimes bring a sunny touch to our program or at least offer a ray of hope‹, Kristina Tuomi laughs. Despite those particles of light, the trios music stays enjoyably gloomy, elegiac, enchanted and with their clear, lyrical melodies and transfigured harmonies charmingly artistic.«
Jazzthing | Ssirus W. Pakzad | 2/2005

»Now at last there’s a voice from Finnland: Kristina Tuomi, who as Tuomi recorded her debut album with the Berlin pianist Carsten Daerr and the bass player Carlos Bica from Portugal under her own name. A record, with a gloomy sound, which with this intimate chamber-musical instrumentation tells as well a small, musically fine developed stories about romantic, but also hurt love, as it abstractly parphrases a Suzanne Vega song or puts a Shakespeare text with measured tones into music. Béla Bartók appears as well as two poems by Edgar Allen Poe. And Kristina Tuomi sings everything with a disarming clarity and simplicity – far from jazz-parameters – that pleasingly arrests the listeners attention.«
Jazzthetik | 3/2005

Jazz is ›in‹ again and in Europe especially the graceful female singers from Skandinavia. Newly there and instantly on top is the Finn Kristina Tuomi with her debut album ›Tightrope Walker‹.
What made Norah Jones or Katie Delua over the last years also popular in germany, is in fact nothing else than what a lot of scandinavian and german female singers master for many years in perfection : celebrate jazz to tender melodies and emotional arrangements.
The Finn Kristina Tuomi, living in Berlin, is no exception and smoothly ties up to the tradition of Rebbeka Bakken, Kari Bremnes or Silje Neergard. To say that Tuomi even tops them might sound a bit bold, but it’s easy to fall in love with the music of the former Paloma singer. At her side she’s got Carsten Daerr and Carlos Bica, both internationally famous jazzers.
Especially the title-song from tuomi’s debut album is over the top … All qualities of the longplayer come together in it, breath-taking, stirring jazz for the more quiet hours of the day.«
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Hörerwertung: ••••••, mp3 des Tages | (os) | 02.03.2005

»With unusual dramatic art, fabulous singing and a powertrio-instrumentation, ›Tightrope Walker‹ blows your mind. Hard to say what stilistically flows into this album of the finn singer – in any way it is an absolute highlight in today’s jazzvocal-meltingpot … creepy-beautiful, melodramatic-balladesque and more« | Carina Prange | March 2005