New Jazz from Finland

Finnish jazz has gained recognition and fans around the world from the days of Edward Vesala, Heikki Sarmanto, Olli Ahvenlahti and Matti Oiling. Building from that tradition, today’s Finnish jazz scene is more flourishing than ever. Ranging from Dalindèo’s groovy retro sounds to Oddarrang’s cinematic crossover, not to mention Espoo Big Band’s jazz-rock fusion, Kalle Kalima’s adventurous guitar tones and the melodic piano jazz of Aki Rissanen Trio.

Dip your toes into Music Finland’s frequently-updating playlist of the freshest Finnish jazz, available on Spotify and Apple Music. And scroll down for artist bios!


New Jazz from Finland

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Emma Salokoski

Singer Emma Salokoski has become known both as a talented musical performer and as a strong group leader in her own bossa nova band Emma Salokoski Ensemble. Salokoski plays also an important role as a featuring artist on many live performances and recordings of several pop and rock bands.

Case Kämäräinen

Drummer Tomi Kämäräinen presents his new quartet with his own perspective on music by combining lightness and grace of modern jazz timbre with experiencing Copenhagen in vast and various pictures. Kämäräinen has worked as a musician since 2004 playing with different productions and bands all around Finland and performing with awarded musicians like Esa Pietilä and Pekka Toivanen. 

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Aapo Heinonen Quintet

Aapo Heinonen has a taste for swinging melodies and open-minded compositions, which he dips into the bowls of modal jazz, fusion, Latin jazz, world music and film music. The pieces come in big band form, but go through a gentle transformation in the hands of this improvising and communicative quintet.

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Heikki Ruokangas

Heikki Ruokangas is a jazz/avant-garde guitarist and composer. Since 2015 Ruokangas has released four albums that consist of performances as both solo artist and as a leader with various groups. By combining of melody and noise, music of Ruokangas moves from delicate and melodic atmospheres to all the way to violent avant-garde.

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Bowman Trio

Bowman Trio (trumpetist Tomi Nikku, bassist Joonas Tuuri and drummer Sami Nummela) gained international acclaim with their eponymous debut album in 2016. "The Hillary Step" single is the first tasting from a We Jazz Records live album including Bowman Trio, Black Motor and Jaska Lukkarinen Trio, released in October 2018. On "The Hillary Step" Bowman Trio remains faithful to the intimate and immediate 'loft jazz' sound, while upping the intensity a notch.

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Sanna Ruohoniemi

Jazz vocalist and composer Sanna Ruohoniemi creates music that has it’s root in tradition of jazz with a mixture of the Nordic folk traditions, free improvised music and everything in between. Ruohoniemi's quintet released their second album ”Start from Nothing” on Eclipse Records.

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Ricky-Tick Big Band

Formed in 2010, Ricky-Tick Big Band, led by bandleader Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen (ex-Dalindèo) consists of 16 musicians – all domestically and internationally acclaimed top players – and three rappers (Redrama, Paleface and Tommy Lindgren). The band’s musical style could be described as energetic and fiercely groovy contemporary big band jazz, with foundation in the Duke Ellington school and influences ranging from New Orleans to Ethio-jazz.

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Alder Ego

Helsinki-based drummer Joonas Leppänen introduces Alder Ego, his quartet formation bringing together four major talents from the buzzing Finnish jazz scene. Here, Leppänen is joined by trumpeter Tomi Nikku (of Bowman Trio), saxophonist Jarno Tikka and bassist Teemu Åkerblom. Together they create forward thinking jazz music of the now: melodic, flowing, and full of surprises. The music moves forward naturally, carrying with it multiple levels of discovery.

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William Suvanne

William Suvanne is a Helsinki, Finland based saxophonist, whose trio consists of Mikael Jakobsson (piano), Tuure Koski (bass) and Mikko Arlin (drums). Suvanne has played professionally for more than ten years and released four albums, "Chess 'n Jazz" (2018) being the latest.

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Hot Heros

Saxophonist Sami Sippola, bassist Ville Rauhala and drummer Janne Tuomi form the trio Hot Heros, whose second album "Folkjazz From Finland" was released in 2018. The sound of Hot Heros is rooted in Finnish folk music and European free jazz tradition, as the band members have collaborated with musicians like Peter Brötzmann, John Zorn, Iro Haarla and Raoul Björkenheim. Hot Heros has been called a torchbearer for Finnish legends like Piirpauke and Edward Vesala.

Jimi Tenor

Composer and musician Jimi Tenor needs no introduction: after 30 years of career as an established artist, Tenor has redefined his style and sound over and over again and moved from 60s and 70s jazz, psychedelic soul and African funk to techno and experimental rock. Tenor's latest LP "Order of Nothingness" was released in the summer of 2018.

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Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet

Trumpetist Martti Vesala's ensemble is comprised of five ambitious musicians combining the cool and eloquent sounds of Nordic Jazz with the exciting Afro American jazz grooves of the 1960's, such as Miles Davis Quintet, Wayne Shorter and Dave Douglas. Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet's second and latest album "Stars Aligned" was released in 2018 on the Ozella Music label.

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Gourmet

What if Duke Ellington, Tom Waits, Carlos Gardel and Charlie Haden met at a kebab kiosk somewhere in rural Finland?” This is what saxophonist Mikko Innanen and guitarist Esa Onttonen asked each other once upon a time in 1997. As a result Gourmet was born – reaching 21 years of existence in 2018.

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Kari Ikonen Trio

The Finnish Kari Ikonen Trio has been active since 2012. Its two albums “Bright” and “Beauteous Tales and Offbeat Stories” on German label Ozella have gained a lot of international success, making the band busy playing at clubs and festivals all over Europe, and in Japan, South-Korea, Russia, Turkey, Australia and the USA. Their third album “Wind, Frost & Radiation” was released by Ozella Music.

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Timo Lassy

“Quality swinging jazz with a difference!“, as Gilles Peterson calls it. Saxophonist Timo Lassy has cemented his position at the helm of the burgeoning new Finnish jazz scene. He has worked with an international all-star cast ranging from the Italian style-master Nicola Conte to US jazz vocalist José James as well as extending his talents into the art of film-music by composing for the soundtrack of the movie Moomins on the Riviera.

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Nicole Willis

The music of Brooklyn-born Nicole Willis has been described an urban fusion of soul, jazz and funk. As a creative soul, she is inclined to break down traditional barriers. She is constantly searching for new sources of inspiration to make her music novel and exciting. Willis is best known from her collaborations with The Soul Investigators and Jimi Tenor. Her latest album, My Name is Nicole Willis was made together with UMO.

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Iiro Rantala

Iiro Rantala is one of Finland's best known jazz musicians internationally. When his Trio Töykeät was formed in 1988, Rantala concentrated on this group for 18 years. The trio were known for a unique combination of deep musicality and madcap humour, and played over 2,000 shows in forty-five countries. ECHO Jazz award winning Rantala has since then built a succesful solo career and released albums via ACT since 2009.

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Jussi Fredriksson

Jussi Fredriksson, known as a pianist, drummer, band leader, composer, producer and pedagogue, has been a driving force in the Finnish jazz scene since 2000, when he started his studies in the respected Sibelius Academy. Since then Fredriksson has played with bands such as Jazz Wars, Fredator and Jussi Fredriksson Trio, released several albums and collaborated with international players like Rick Margitza, Tim Hagans and Ron McClure, as well as locals such as Umo Jazz Orchestra, Severi Pyysalo, Eero Koivistoinen, Jukka Eskola and Mikko Innanen.

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Verneri Pohjola & Mika Kallio

Trumpet player Verneri Pohjola and percussionist Mika Kallio teamed up to write a soundtrack for Perttu Saksa’s documentary film Animal Image. Their album, which shares its title with the film, is a meditative and minimalistic work consisting of six songs.

Joona Toivanen Trio

Joona Toivanen (born 1981) is a Finnish jazz pianist, currently resided in Gothenburg, Sweden. He has become one of the most talented jazz pianists in Finland. Toivanen’s own trio has toured frequently in Finland and abroad, for example in Europe, Asia and Australia, and besides his trio, Toivanen has worked with many top jazz musicians in Europe. The trio won the 2018 Teosto Prize for their album XX.

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Jori Huhtala 3

Bass player Jori Huhtala has performed and recorded with a numerous top artists in Finland, e.g. Eero Koivistoinen, Raoul Björkenheim, Jussi Fredriksson, Jussi Lehtonen and Sid Hille. Huhtala is also an active composer and he's written music for many of the groups he performs with. Jori Huhtala 3 is his latest vision for a group to perform his compositions.

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3TM

Drummer/producer Teppo Mäkynen (of Teddy's West Coasters, The Stance Brothers, The Five Corners Quintet) presents his new major work, 3TM. The trio consists of Mäkynen, tenor sax man Jussi Kannaste and bassist Antti Lötjönen. Mäkynen, manning the drum seat in the combo, is using samples and sounds here to break off from the standard aural image of the jazz trio. What we have instead, is a new world of sound rooted somewhere in between acoustic jazz and abstract electronic music, blurring the lines of genre and time. Their debut album, Form, won the equivalent of best jazz album award at the Finnish Grammys.

Kaisa's Machine

Kaisa's Machine is a jazz quartet founded by double bassist Kaisa Mäensivu. The band has continually received a lot of interest, and has performed in all the largest jazz festivals around Finland ( ie. Pori Jazz, Tampere Jazz Happening, Turku Jazz). The music is influenced by modern jazz and the current sound in Scandinavia and New York. Each musicians' strong individual style also echoes in the music. Debut album "In the key of K" was released in December 2017.