Cover Tough Stuff

Album info



Album including Album cover Booklet (PDF)


Formats & Prices

FormatPriceIn CartBuy
FLAC 96 $ 14.50
  • 1Tough Stuff04:43
  • 2Tae Kwon Don't03:10
  • 3Second Date Waltz03:20
  • 4Will You Be My Bop?04:15
  • 5Stockholm Syndrome03:50
  • 6Cabaret Perdu04:40
  • 7Tee Four Three03:43
  • 8Das Handtuch03:58
  • 9Country and Eastern03:32
  • 10A Lotta Love05:42
  • 11Liberty City06:24
  • Total Runtime47:17

Info for Tough Stuff

The Iiro Rantala HEL Trio is capable of incredible contrasts, and therein lies its appeal. As a pianist, Rantala can take the breath away both with his lightness of touch and the grace of his melodic lines. But then he can transform himself into other, very different characters: there is one who inspires laughter with his rummaging in the piano, another whose pathos, openness and honesty touch every heart. He has a baroque demeanour, his playing is full of relish, so that it only takes a few notes and he already has the audience on his side.

At the same time, Anton Eger, with his irresistibly delicate playing fuelled by a wide variety of styles, and Conor Chaplin, with his weighty yet agile grooves on the bass, brings astonishing clarity and sense of form to the music. The HEL Trio should not be mistaken for a nostalgic back-to-the-roots project: "For me, music should always be going forwards," says Rantala. Iiro Rantala's restless, almost hyperactive approach, his urge to try things out and surprise his audience time and again, and his ability to play a wide variety of genres and styles authentically while always sounding like himself make him an exceptional figure among European pianists. Iiro Rantala’s musical journey has been full of twists and turns. Iiro Rantala HEL Trio's album Tough Stuff is another milestone on that journey. And an important one.

Iiro Rantala, piano Conor Chaplin, double bass Anton Eger, drums Mathias Heise, harmonica (guest on Liberty City)

Iiro Rantala
“Intelligence, humour, lots of sentiment, unpredictable ideas and finest piano-craftsmanship.” (FAZ) – Finnish pianist Iiro Rantala simply is “a natural phenomenon on the keys.” (Jazz thing). For almost twenty years he conquered the jazz stages of Europe and beyond with his anarchist Trio Töykeät. His following ACT-debut album “Lost Heroes” marked a turning point in Rantala’s music: The wild, unchecked energy of earlier days made room for more melodic, harmonic and elaborate notes – although Rantala’s wit always shines through. And so do his outstanding, classically trained technical skills. In many ways Rantala succeeds in connecting elements that often seem contradictory: He is a critically acclaimed artist and has, among others, received highly esteemed awards like the Annual German Record Critic’s Award, the ECHO Jazz Award and the Finnish EMMA Award – and at the same times manages to wow broad audiences from many different directions. He regularly appears on major jazz festivals and clubs, but at the same time in world-famous classical music halls like the Berlin Philharmonic, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, The Berlin Konzerthaus or the Cologne Philharmonic – solo, as a leader of various trios – and also with full orchestra. His musical scope ranges from jazz over classical to pop and Scandinavian folk and song tradition. With lots of sentiment and melancholy but also with tons of wit and charm. In short: A true master of modern piano playing without borders.

At the same time Iiro Rantala is a strong force in classical and contemporary music, bringing the verve, wit and expressiveness of his jazz background to his interpretations of Mozart, Gershwin, Beethoven and others. Already at the age of six, Iiro Rantala started singing classical music in the reknown boy’s choir “Cantores Minores” and later took up a study of classical piano at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki. Soon after Rantala collaborated with Finnish classical greats such as the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, the Tapiola Sinfonietta and Finnish violin greatest Pekka Kuusisto and, later on, also with international orchestras such as the Belgrade Symphony Orchestra, Stockholm Kunglika Filharmonikerna and Västerås Sinfonietta.

He performed at world famous venues such as Cologne Philharmonie, Elbphilharmonie Hamburg, Berlin Philharmonic or Konzerthaus Berlin. In 2017 Rantala’s first piano concerto “Concerto for piano and concerto in G#majAb” was premiered in Helsinki, orchestrated by the Finnish violinist, composer and conductor Jaakko Kuusisto. One year later, in 2018, Iiro Rantala’s opera “Sanatorio Express” premiered at the Finnish National Opera. In 2018 Iiro Rantala recorded and performed the programme “Mozart, Bernstein, Lennon” (ACT) together with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen, which received great critical acclaim in both, the jazz and classical world and got nominated for the International Classical Music Award. In 2020, the new recording “Playing Gershwin” with the Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen will be released on ACT.

Booklet for Tough Stuff

© 2010-2024 HIGHRESAUDIO