Timo Lassy

Trio
(We Jazz Records)

For Trio, Timo Lassy centers the music within his new combo: himself, bassist Ville Herrala and drummer Jaska Lukkarinen. But the Finnish saxophonist puts a spin on the classic saxophone trio via an expansive supporting cast, including an electronic synthesis team and the Budapest Art Orchestra string ensemble.

The strings quickly announce their presence on, “Foreign Routes,” providing lush harmony. A soaring orchestration over the hypnotic bossa groove by Herrala and Lukkarinen could be the soundtrack to a James Bond classic.

“Sointu” and “Sunday” showcase Lassy’s extensive improvisatory chops. His ruddy tone lies somewhere between Joe Henderson and Charles Lloyd, with hints of Jan Gabarek.

“Pumping C” features the core trio, in no need of assistance. A plucky bass line sets up Lukkarinen’s Art Blakey-inspired press roll. Lassy doubles and cleverly varies the ostinato, shifting though modes before settling into solo-friendly mixolydian. His saxophone glides over the pedal, slowly twisting the sonic screws to a pleasantly uncomfortable threshold.

“Orlo” recalls the entire cast for a show-stopping finale. Saxophone announces the gritty melody before everyone else bursts forth. Lassy saves his best for last with an impassioned solo over a four-chord cycle — rhythm section, strings and synths all swirling in a fitting closer for an epic trio album.