The moniker KAIRA hides a fascinating combination of artists from the vanguard of the Finnish contemporary jazz scene, put together by Lauri Kaira, who co-wrote the album together with keyboardist Markus Niittynen. Other members in the band feature Joonatan Rautio (saxophone), Sampo Tiittanen (bass), Jussi Lehtonen (drums and percussion), and Nina Mya & Sam Huber on vocals.
Produced by composer Kaira with the assistance of Finland’s only professor of jazz music, Jukkis Uotila, the album is the fruit of a lot of time and effort. The eponymous album has a strong Nordic emphasis – its subtitle is Urban Sagas of Northern Cities – and its moods stem from long Scandinavian winters and light-filled summer nights. “Northern cool meets hot jazz and all snowmen melt in ecstasy”, as vocalist Sam Huber describes it.