Tuesday, 13 June 2017


Jimi Tenor was born in 1965 as Lassi O. T. Lehto in Lahti, Finland. The resemblance to the youngest member of The Osmonds, Little Jimmy Osmond, earned him his nickname of Jimi in the early '70s.

Just like his older brother Marko, Jimi had a passion for music. He studied for many years at a music institute and can play flute, piano and saxophone; his skills were further implemented by his work experience as the saxophone player for various bands.

At 16 he was the youngest member of Pallosalama (Thunderball), an orchestra which used to tour Finland with a sort of Saturday night dance shows for older people. This act was very popular then and also appeared on the Syksyn Sävel (Melody of Autumn), a song contest on Finnish Television.

Later on he was part of the Pop-Rock group Himo (Lust) as a saxophone and keyboards player. In 1986 the band gained some success in the Finnish Rock Championships and released a self-titled album along with a few singles on the Amulet and Cityboy labels. Tenor was also responsible for the music and lyrics of a couple of the band's songs.

Other groups in which Jimi was involved in the mid-80s include The Cherry Pickers, Iloinen Poika Milloin (Happy Boy When) - a band founded by his brother - and... Shaman!

Jimi Tenor and His Shamans were founded during 1986; this new project was an experimental evolution of the more ordinary Rock band Shaman. At the time, Tenor had recently discovered the Industrial sound of Einstürzende Neubauten and Test Dept., and - as a twist of fate - had accepted a new job in a mayonnaise factory.

The group consisted of Ilkka Mattila (guitar), Toni Kuusisto (bass) Niklas Häggblom (trumpet), and Enver Hoxha (real name Hannu Mäkelä, atonal alt bass), with Tero Kling playing drums as an added member. Jimi was the lead singer, played tenor saxophone and - just like all the other members of the band - banged on empty oil barrels, a trademark of their sound both in studio and live.

Matti Knaapi, a graphic designer and inventor, allowed the band to embrace a more experimental sound helping Jimi to create special equipment in the form of self-built musical instruments bearing names like Vera (an automatic trombone), Sirkka (a man-sized mechanical drum machine), Melukone (a noise machine) and The Liberace (a peculiar-looking stainless steel object which is hard to describe).

In late 1987, after a series of concerts in Finland, Jimi Tenor and His Shamans debuted with their first single. "X-Rays / Still In Love" was released by the band on their own JTS / Shamans label with catalogue number JTS 2001, probably a reference to Stanley Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odissey" since the catalogue numbers of the other releases of their label hint at various science fiction movies and books.

Jimi Tenor performing live with the Shamans, 1988

As the band's popularity grew, their second single "Closer / Some Fun" was published in early 1988 by Euros Records, which - according to the relevant Discogs entry - was a Finnish label specialised in Rock music active from 1983 until the early '90s.

In early 1988 Euros also released "Total Capacity of 216,5 Litres", the band's debut album. Entitled after the peculiar characteristic of the beloved barrels which most of the band members used to play both live and in the studio, the record offered eleven tracks that showcased the Shamans' ability at combining Industrial paraphernalia with more accessible elements, and included a few numbers that wouldn't have made a poor showing in one of the albums that Jimi Tenor released at the beginning of his solo career during the mid '90s.

The following year Sonic Records expressed their interest about releasing a Shamans single, but something went wrong along the way and "Fight / Crisis" - the subject of this post - ended up being self-produced by the group sometime in 1989.

Jimi Tenor, circa 1989

Here's the track list for this 7" single:

01. Fight (3:48)
02. Crisis (3:46)

Both tracks were remastered from vinyl in May 2017 and are available in FLAC lossless format, along with scans of the original item.

Please have a look at the comments section for the download link.

As already mentioned, this single was originally planned as a Sonic Records release, but it looks like the band disagreed with the label about the publishing schedule at the time the record was supposed to be pressed, so they decided to self-release it. Despite the 'JTS 2010' catalogue number on the cover, the engraving 'Sonic-4' survived among the end grooves of the record itself.

Some copies of the single - including the one that is offered in this post - came in a transparent plastic sleeve with simple black and white photocopied cover/insert, other copies didn't have any kind of artwork except the center labels. Despite the title "Crisis" comes first on the cover, the actual Side A is identified as "Fight" by the catalogue number 'Sonic-4-A' in the end grooves. By the way, there's no actual mention of Jimi Tenor on the cover, only the word 'Shamans'...

"Fight" is a fast song with a circular and obsessive structure, where assorted percussion and simple bass lines keep on repeating the same patterns. Vocals are delivered in a mantric style, urging the listener to 'fight for survival'... All instruments are played in a percussive way, except the horns which provide melodic lines and also offer short bridges in the completely instrumental second part.

"Crisis" is a slower number with a more complex and balanced arrangement. The instrumental build-up in the first section in a fine example of perfection and Ilkka Mattila's reverbered guitar short solo deserves a special mention. This is a love song and the lyrics express the need to split up when a relation goes wrong, but also the fear of the uncertainty that's coming next...

Here's the credits and personnel list for these recordings as elaborated from the photocopied insert included with the record:

Jimi Tenor (Lassi Lehto) - saxophone, voice
Enver Hoxna (Hannu Mäkelä) - atonal alt bass
Toni Kuusisto - bass
Tero Kling - drums, barrels, voice
Ilkka Mattila - guitar
Niklas Häggblom - trumpet, voice

The following clips offer a complete preview of the remastered single, enjoy!

More information about Jimi Tenor is available here:









If you have any other useful information about this post or if you spot any dead links, please get in touch with me at stereocandies [at] hotmail [dot] com or leave a comment in the box below, thank you!




    If you download this file please consider leaving a comment, your feedback is important!

    Please let me know if the link is broken and I'll do my best to quickly fix it.

  2. thank you for another early one of master tenor. missed him live with tenors of kalma this year. if you do not have heard it yet check it out: great record with guitarist kalle kalima and Joonas Riippa on drums.

  3. Thanks for the discover!!!


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