Mikko Innanen – saxophone
Esa Onttonen – guitar
Ilmari Pohjola – trombone
Veli Kujala – accordion
Petri Keskitalo – tuba
Mika Kallio – drums
“What if Duke Ellington, Tom Waits, Carlos Gardel and Charlie Haden met at a kebab kiosk somewhere in rural Finland?”
This is what saxophonist Mikko Innanen and guitarist Esa Onttonen asked each other once upon a time in 1997. As a result Gourmet was born – meaning that while Finland is celebrating its 100th birthday in 2017, Gourmet are celebrating their 20th. They are currently playing new material from their fourth upcoming album which will be released in early 2018. Their previous album Cosmopolitan Sideshow (2011) and the accompanying tour received superb reviews, and an Emma Award nomination in the Finnish Jazz Album of the Year category.
See Live page for upcoming gigs!
For a more comprehensive Gourmet history, please read on!
The origin of Gourmet can be traced back to 1996 when a group named Salad was formed by saxophonist Mikko Innanen and guitarist Esa Onttonen. Salad’s journey to stardom ended somewhat prematurely as the group disbanded right after the first gig. The time wasn’t yet ripe for a group featuring accordion (already played by Veli Kujala) and an eclectic repertoire that included compositions by Ennio Morricone and Henry Mancini, along with the future Gourmet standard ‘Las Palmas’.
Glamour and Decadence (1997-2002)
The failed Salad attempt didn’t discourage Innanen and Onttonen from giving the idea a second try, this time with the addition of slide trombone of Ilmari Pohjola and some personnel changes. The first formation of Gourmet – Innanen, Onttonen, Kujala, Pohjola, bassist Janne Antikainen and drummer Mika Kallio – hit the stage in April 1998 and eventually went to record the critically acclaimed debut album Glamour & Decadence. The album was released by Fiasko Records in April 2001 and described as “eccentric and intoxicating brew of blues, jazz, tango, rock, surf, noise and even Greek bouzouki music” by All About Jazz.
Six Acres of Broken Hearts (2004-2009)
After the few gigs following the release of “Glamour & Decadence” Gourmet went into a nearly two-year hiatus to come back in April 2004 with a completely new repertoire and more brassy sound as the double bass was replaced by tuba, played by Petri Keskitalo. The new Gourmet sound was introduced on the Six Acres of Broken Hearts album, released in November 2004 and chosen as one of the best albums of the year by Helsingin Sanomat, the leading daily newspaper in Finland. The album was followed by a 11-gig tour of Finland and festival performances in France (Nantes and Le Mans), The Netherlands (Tilburg) and Germany (Münster).
Cosmopolitan Sideshow (2010-2014)
Starting in July 2006 Gourmet started replacing older pieces with new ones and the entirely new repertoire was first played on the second tour of Finland and the band’s third visit to France (Saint Nazaire) in February 2010. Fifteen tracks ended up on the Cosmopolitan Sideshow album, released in November 2011 by Fiasko Records. The album received five-star reviews in Helsingin Sanomat and Soundi, was chosen as one of the best albums of the year by Hufvudstadsbladet and was nominated for the Emma Award in the Jazz Album of the Year category. Following the release of Cosmopolitan Sideshow Gourmet toured for the third time in Finland and played their first gigs in Estonia (Tallinn) and Belgium (Gent). The highly successful Nov-Dec tour of 2011 ended with a concert in the legendary Bimhuis in Amsterdam, also marking the 50th live performance of the group. During 2012-2014 Gourmet performed at Jazz Sous Les Pommiers festival in Coutances, France, Jazz au Chellah festival in Rabat, Morocco, Gaume Jazz Festival in Rossignol, Belgium and Carinthischer Sommer in Villach, Austria.
The current (2016-)
After taking a break Gourmet cut their yet unreleased fourth album in September 2016. In 2017 Gourmet appeared at many international festivals: JazzAhead, Bremen, Germany; Les Rendez-vous de l’Erdre in Nantes, France; Göttinger Jazzfestival, Göttingen, Germany, and Opus Jazz Club, Budapest, Hungary.
In 2018 the fourth album will be released along with more gigs in Finland and abroad. Please visit the Gourmet website to stay informed!