Trombonist Katja Toivola has been acquainted with the music styles of New Orleans for over fifteen years. She made her first visit to the Crescent City in 1995, and now calls New Orleans home. Toivola has been leading her own bands; the New Orleans Helsinki Connection and the Spirit Of New Orleans since 2001.
In July 2002, Toivola performed in Switzerland with the German Wim’s Paradise Jazz Band and in February 2006 and December 2007 in France with Patrick Bensoussan’s Big Beat Band. 2006 also saw her playing at the legendary Preservation Hall where she now regularly performs on Friday nights. In the spring of 2008 she did a 2-week tour in Australia and in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012 and 2013 it was Brazil’s turn (São Paulo, Brasília, Belo Horizonte, Rio de Janeiro, Aracaju and Recife, Paraty, Nova Lima, Goiânia). She has also performed on the popular Jô Soares Show (Programa do Jô) in São Paulo, Brazil.
In 2011 she appeared on HBO series “Treme” and in 2013, the she was the subject of Aira Vehaskari’s 30minute documentary “Pasuunarakkautta – The Girl Can Play” that aired on Finland’s national TV channel YLE1 several times. She also appeared on Finnish news on multiple occasions that summer.
Over the years, Toivola has performed in New Zealand, Switzerland, Fiji, France, Germany, Estonia, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, Sweden, Scotland and Norway and on most of the Finnish jazz festivals (Pori Jazz, April Jazz, Ruskaswing, Linna-Jazz, Korpo Sea Jazz, Ylläs Jazz Blues, Jyväskylä Summer Jazz, Helsinki Classic Jazz Festival, Imatra Big Band Festival…). She continues to lead her two bands and works as a sideman and a freelance musician around Helsinki and New Orleans.
She has appeared on recordings with Leroy Jones, the Original Hurricane Brass Band, and the Riverside Rascals; as well as on five full-length albums that she has produced for her own bands New Orleans Helsinki Connection and Spirit Of New Orleans.
Toivola is also known for her photography and graphic design efforts and her company “Spirit Of New Orleans Productions” handles international and local artist bookings offering “Traditional New Orleans Jazz With A 21st Century Flavor.” In addition to all this, she also plays bass drum with the Original Hurricane Brass Band.
From the review of a French Quarter Festival performance (Chris Waddington, The TimesPicayune) ” — Katja Toivola, is […] one of the Crescent City’s most creative trombone players. — “
From the album review of “Some Of These Days” (Geraldine Wyckoff, OffBeat) ” — Toivola’s “Montego Bounce” rocks steady with a Jamaican flair that is reminiscent of material favored by the legendary Skatalites. It’s the perfect vehicle to show off her growing prowess on the trombone. — “