think I'm considered more like some kind of outsider artist
than a star, lets say like these people who do sculptures
behind the gas station on the lawn and some guy has done an
art piece out of a log with a chainsaw. I think I'm that sort
of a guy but with music... I think my chainsaw is my flute
and my log is, oh I really don't know, lets say my maracas.
Musician and composer Jimi Tenor has never settled
for the traditional role of a pop artist. He is known as a productive
musician whose work lies beyond current trends, and also as a performer
who combines the finest elements of afro-american music, spontaneous
silliness and shameless glamour in an original way.
Besides being a professional musician for almost
20 years, Jimi Tenor has also practised photography, directed short
films and designed clothes and musical instruments.
Tenor's music, along with his design and technical
innovations, springs from experimental rock. His first recording
band Jimi Tenor & His Shamans (1986-1992) was influenced by
the early 80s industrial rock, where instruments were made out of
scrap metal and plastic. Later during the 90s Tenor moved first
towards electronic music, but soon got closer to his roots: 60s
and 70s jazz, psychedelic soul and African funk.
Although Tenor spent all of the 90s in Berlin, New
York, London and Barcelona, his artistic approach was typically
Finnish: technically practical, but saturated with black humour
and a national romantic tone. So he was quite at home all over Europe
in front of a crowd gone wild, wearing a glittering self-designed
costume and a flowing cape, holding a noise-producing device the
main components of which were a walkman made in Hong Kong and an
East-German bicycle dynamo, performing a song about ancient Finnish
forest gods, sounding like a mixture of Gil Evans, Jimi Hendrix
and Fela Kuti.
The music industry has found it difficult to operate
with Jimi Tenor at times. The hard rock driven Finland of the 80s
considered him weird and too marginal. In Britain in the 90s he
was seen as a trendy techno jazz artist, but Tenor soon confused
the pioneering electro label Warp by delivering an imaginary - and
expensive - soundtrack album with a symphony orchestra, instead
of making minimalistic hits.
Today Jimi Tenor is an established European artist
who operates outside the mainstream. His audience consists of clubbers
and alternative rock enthusiasts looking for new perspective, but
also of jazz and funk rebels. Those who understand that even unconventional
pop music can move your body and heart.
Jimi Tenor first performed Mister Freedom solo at
London's Horse Hospital back in January 2003. Now he returns with
a ten piece big band for the big screen premiere at Queen Elizabeth
"Mr Freedom will rock!" says Jimi. "We
have a really slamming band and I've been quite inspired when doing
the arrangements. I've also included some older tracks in there
like Trumpcard, Asteroid Belt and a tiny bit of Downtown. Mostly
it will be same music as at the Horse Hospital couple of years ago,
but arranged for a big band. I would say it's more film music than
'big band' music."