Finnish Jazz Federation's Yrjö Award was handed to saxophonist Linda Fredriksson on Friday. The newly introduced Taimi Award, aimed at young musicians, was given to pianist and wind instrumentalist Joonatan Henriksson.
Yrjö Awards, the most prestigious recognitions in the Finnish jazz scene were awarded at the Tampere Jazz Happening on Friday, November 3rd. The award has been presented since 1967 to a distinguished Finnish jazz musician. In previous years, the award has been granted to trumpeter Jukka Eskola (2022), drummer Mikko Hassinen (2021), saxophonist Timo Lassy (2020) and pianist Riitta Paakki (2019).
This year's winner, saxophonist Linda Fredriksson, was characterised by Minnakaisa Kuivalainen as follows:
"Linda Fredriksson has emerged as one of the most intriguing Finnish jazz artists of our time. Their distinctive voice and strong expression have found appreciative audiences both domestically and internationally. Fredriksson's explosively popular solo album was preceded by an impressive career as an instrumentalist, with talents recognized on an international scale. Fredriksson's music touches audiences sensitively and convincingly, transcending genre boundaries."
Saxophonist Linda Fredriksson is known as a bold improviser and a distinctive musician who transcends boundaries. Fredriksson solidified their position among the brightest names in Finnish jazz, especially with their debut solo album Juniper (We Jazz Records 2021). The album was awarded the Jazz Emma Award and the Teosto Prize in 2022.
Before their solo career, Fredriksson became known in bands like Mopo, Superposition and Ricky-Tick Big Band, in addition to collaborations with artists such as Ultra Bra, Raoul Björkenheim, Timo Lassy and Olavi Uusivirta.
Fredriksson's instrument repertoire also includes the baritone saxophone, flute and bass clarinet. Fredriksson, who has graduated as a Master of Music from the Sibelius Academy, is especially known for their versatile baritone saxophonism, which ranges from ethereal melodies to explosive improvisation.
Finnish Jazz Federation introduces new Taimi Award
Finnish Jazz Federation's new annual Taimi Award is presented to a young musician who passionately develops their own musical expression. The award aims to encourage young talents in their bold quest for their unique voice. The very first Taimi Award was granted to pianist and wind instrumentalist Joonatan Henriksson. The Award includes the opportunity to perform at three Finnish jazz festivals, which change annually.
Yle Jazz Radio's “Shadow Yrjö” recognition went to concert organiser Marita Nyrhinen. In addition to concert activities, Nyrhinen has revitalized Finnish jazz culture as a jazz journalist and reviewer.
The awards were presented at Tampere's Pakkahuone on November 3, 2023. The event and Linda Fredriksson's concert were part of the official programme of Tampere Jazz Happening and Jazz Finland’s member assembly National Jazz Days (Valtakunnalliset Jazzpäivät).