New Orleans Helsinki Connection
" -- New Orleans Helsinki Connection, a diverse musical troupe which adds a stylish, modern touch to the well seasoned sounds of New Orleans -- " Aaron Lafont
New Orleans Helsinki Connection is a group of New Orleans and Helsinki based musicians that play traditional New Orleans jazz with a youthful 21st century touch. Its members represent the very best of this style in their homelands and have been playing together in various bands for years. In the summer of 2002, a long time dream of a joint band finally became reality. The band had a successful three-week tour in Finland.
In the fall of 2003, New Orleans Helsinki Connection headed in to the studio, and the aptly titled CD "At Last" came out in April 2004. Since then, the NOHC has been often heard on the WWOZ jazz station and the CD is available again after being out of print for some time. In August 2004, the NOHC performed very successfully at Sildajazz Festival in Haugesund, Norway, at Lahden Jazztori Festival in Lahti, Finland and at Storyville Jazz Club in Helsinki, Finland.
Fall 2008 saw the NOHC performing extensively in Brazil (São Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Aracaju, and Recife) and in 2011 the band headed to the studio again. This time the recording features many of the great "subs" that have played with the band along the years: vocal duties are split between Tricia Boutté, Yolanda Windsay and trumpeter Leroy Jones, bass duties between Nobu Ozaki and Mitchell Player and drum duties between Gerald French and Jerry Anderson. Guitarist Todd Duke, pianist Paul Longstreth and leader/trombonist Katja Toivola are of course along for the ride as well. The new album, released in the spring of 2012, is named "Paradise On Earth" after its title track, an original penned by Toivola.
In New Orleans, the band has been seen performing for example at the French Quarter Festival, Satchmo Fest, Gentilly Fest, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival, Columns Hotel, National Historical Park, Donna's Bar & Grill, and at Snug Harbor.