Finnish drummer Jaska Lukkarinen and Israeli-born pianist Roy Assaf wanted to capture three different cultures and musical styles into one sound. What is it that connects them all? The Art of Improvisation and the tradition of Jazz music. Together with bassist Antti Lötjönen and saxophonist Jussi Kannaste, both from Finland, they share the same musical vision. They want to introduce NYConnection as a band that creates music together and present their personal friendship through musical conversation. Four openminded musicians who want to create and have people enjoy their art. Simplicity, space, swing, counterpoint and sounds are some of the words that describe the colors of NYConnection.

Their new album released in April 2014 presents a concept they have been developing for a while – how to present jazz standards and original compositions in a non-conventional way? Jaska’s analogy when he came up with the idea was the culinary world: appetizer – entrée – desert. The new album promises delicious tastes from all the musical traditions and backgrounds the musicians have, and also enlightening moments with brand new compositions mainly by these two musicians Jaska and Roy who once met in New York in 2007, and have crossed the ocean ever since to collaborate.

Jaska Lukkarinen is one of the top drummers of the Finnish jazz scene, a truly versatile time-keeper. He has also played with Värttinä, which is one of the most successful Finnish world music groups of all times, and continuously performs with several current and busy Finnish jazz line-ups . Roy Assaf has built his career in New York playing and recording with e.g. Marcus Miller, Roy Hargrove and Eric Alexander, and has also his own trio with fellow American musicians. The rest of the group belong to the crème-de-la-crème of Finnish jazz, equally dividing their time between popular Finnish jazz groups.


“NYConnection avoid the manic post-bop that mark so much jazz these days, and Urban Griot glows with clarity and maturity.” – Andy Boeckstaens, LondonJazzNews 12.6.2014

“While the band took its maiden voyage as a piano trio in the spring of that same year (2007), it’s evolved over time, becoming a worldly quartet with a diverse outlook on jazz.” – All About Jazz 13.2.2013