Two Finnish acts, Kaisa's Machine and Linda Fredriksson Juniper have been chosen to play the Jazzahead showcase programme this year. The event, held between 11 and 13 April in Bremen, Germany, consists of a high-level showcase festival and a trade fair.
Jazzahead, held annually in Bremen, Germany is considered the most important international gathering of jazz music professionals and concert goers. In previous years, Finnish showcase acts have included e.g. Jussi Reijonen, Verneri Pohjola, Joonas Haavisto Trio, Kokko Quartet, Pauli Lyytinen Magnetia Orkesteri, Joonas Haavisto Trio, Oddarrang, as well as Mopo, another band that features Linda Fredriksson.
This year's Finnish showcase acts will be performing on Thursday 11th (Fredriksson) and Friday 12th (Kaisa's Machine) – find detailed program info below by the artist biographies.
Also on Friday night at Metropol Theater, Jukka Haavisto will be performing in "The Finnish Night", organised in cooperation with the German-Finnish Society Bremen and supported by the Finnish Honorary Consulate Bremen and the Finnish Institute in Berlin.
Friday, April 12th at 23:15 - 23:45, Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
The NYC-based bassist Kaisa Mäensivu formed her ensemble Kaisa’s Machine in Helsinki, Finland in 2015 and made her debut with the group in 2017 on the tight-knit, imaginative In the Key of K. In the midst of this, in 2016, she moved from her native Finland to New York, and thus began a process of artistic growth and transformation. She earned her master’s degree from Manhattan School of Music, studying with the likes of Dave Liebman and Ron Carter. And though she brought new players into her orbit, she kept the Kaisa’s Machine name, landing on Dave Douglas’ prestigious Greenleaf Music label for the follow-up release Taking Shape, her first album as a New Yorker.
Besides touring internationally with her own group, Mäensivu has shared the stage with celebrated artists such as Kurt Rosenwinkel, Dave Kikoski and Tim Hagans. In 2018 she won the first place in the international Riga Jazz Stage contest.
All through her music there’s a sense of story, a sonic richness and surprise. With Kaisa's Machine, Mäensivu has found the ideal platform to realize her vision. The music aims to be relatable in its pureness — sometimes bouncy and groovy, celebrating with you, other times making you ponder all the mysteries and tragedies of life on our planet. Playing bass is Kaisa’s way of dealing with it all.
Line-up: Kaisa Mäensivu (b), Max Zenger (sax), Mikko Antila (vib), Rasmus Sorensen (p), Joe Peri (dr)
“Strong, highly musical bass presence” (London Jazz News)
“The bass, instead of being a routine component of the rhythm section, has become the main compositional voice of the group.” (Brian Morton, Downbeat).
"Mäensivu is an accomplished musician with a uniquely creative voice.” (All About Jazz).
Linda Fredriksson Juniper
Thursday night, April 11th at 00:15 - 00:45, Hall 7.1.
Alto and baritone saxophonist, composer and improviser Linda Fredriksson's versatile and unique style ranges across genres. Fredriksson is best known as a saxophonist of the ground-breaking punk-jazz group Mopo, the renowned “all-star combo of jazz” Ricky-Tick Big Band and the highly acclaimed Superposition. In 2022, Linda Fredriksson released their long-awaited debut solo album Juniper on We Jazz Records. Several years under process, Linda composed the album's songs mostly on guitar, keys and by singing. Later they were arranged for the band heard on the album, including Fredriksson on saxes and various instruments.
Linda Fredriksson has a versatile and unique style ranging across genres and their music is both honest and personal. Fredriksson has explained the debut album “a world of my own and a place of solitude amid all the chaos. A comfy bubble to be in.” At heart, Juniper is a "singer-songwriter album", performed by an instrumental jazz band. The album is a world unto itself, and Fredriksson describes the process of making it as one of isolation and of learning slowly to do new things. The influence list for the album name checks the likes of Feist, Neil Young, Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders, Eric Dolphy and Fever Ray, yet the number one inspiration for Fredriksson prior to making the album was Sufjan Stevens' Carrie and Lowell (2017).
Alongside with their bands, Fredriksson has composed music for theatre, performance art, silent films and an exhibition as well as collaborated with a variety of artists both internationally and locally. DownBeat magazine has nominated Fredriksson on its Rising Star list five times in a row between 2016-2020. In Finland, they have received e.g. the “Critics Spurs” Award by the Finnish Critics’ Association and Pori Jazz Ted Curson Prize.
"An album rich in small details, instantly welcoming and endearingly vulnerable, proud to wear its heart right on its sleeve." (Uncut Magazine)
"Wrings out every last bit of emotion out of her horn but also plays other instruments and uses her voice with clarity and purpose" (Jazz Trail)
"Twenty-first century blend that can be tagged as jazz, but will appeal to plenty of listeners who may not have the jazz habit." (London Jazz News)
"Fredriksson manages to imbue each piece with its own distinct atmosphere." (Jazz Journal)
Line-up: Linda Fredriksson (sax), Tuomo Prättälä (p), Mikael Saastamoinen (b), Olavi Louhivuori (dr)