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 Apple Music and Spotify. And scroll down for artist bios!

New Jazz from Finland on Apple Music
New Jazz from Finland on Spotify

Related Artists

Tenors of Kalma

Jimi Tenor and Kalle Kalima's Tenors of Kalma combines jazz with electronic pop music. The twosome had made music together before forming the trio in 2013, with drummer Joonas Riippa joining. The band themselves describe their music as "dark and jazzy but danceable and suddenly you hear a haunting ballad – moments later it could be inspired by Sun Ra meeting Kraftwerk". Tenors of Kalma´s debut album "Electric Willow" was released in 2015.

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Riitta Paakki

Pianist Riitta Paakki played for the first time in UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra soon after starting her studies at the Sibelius Academy. She quickly made her way to become an important member of many bands of her fellow students, and to lead her first own band, Riitta Paakki Trio. Her debut, the self-titled Riitta Paakki Trio album (Texicalli/Impala 2000) was received well both in Finland and Japan. Later she has released four more albums with her ensembles Riitta Paakki Trio and Riitta Paakki Quartet. In 2016 she became the first Finnish pianist to receive a Doctor’s Degree in jazz and in 2019 she was with the Yrjö Jazz Prize by The Finnish Jazz Federation.

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Selma Savolainen

Selma Savolainen is an emerging vocalist who combines Finnish folk sounds with jazz and alt singer-songwriter styles. Her band features some of the most sought-after musicians on the Finnish jazz scene – Max Zenger on clarinets, Tomi Nikku on trumpet, Toomas Keski-Säntti on piano, Eero Tikkanen on double bass and Okko Saastamoinen on drums. Savolainen's debut record "Horror Vacui", released May 2023 via UK-based label Whirlwind, is a set of emotive songs composed and arranged specifically for this sextet. It explores fear of emptiness, renunciation and sudden discoveries.

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North of Kallio Ensemble

North of Kallio Ensemble is comprised of vocalist Jennie Storbacka – a finalist in talent show The Voice of Finland; keyboardist Lasse Piirainen – winner of the Finnish leg of the Eurovision song contest with his duo Norma John in 2017; along with more traditional jazz players, drummer Tuomas Timonen and bassist Ville Herrala. While not the most conventional lineup, their music is far from conventional too: the band describes their music as ”nordic jazz with cinematic soundscapes and influences from all of the members' musical journeys throughout the years”. Their debut "Constellations" was released in March 2023 and features Jukka Eskola.

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Emma Salokoski

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

Antti Lötjönen

Bassist Antti Lötjönen, one of the most highly-regarded and active musicians working in the Finnish jazz scene, who stepped ahead in 2020 with his debut album "Quintet East" shining bright as both bassist and composer. The debut was followed in 2023 by his sophomore album "Circus/Citadel" on the We Jazz label, where he was backed by a quartet formed by Mikko Innanen (drums), Jussi Kannaste (sax), Verneri Pohjola (trumpet) and Joonas Riippa (drums).

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Valtteri Laurell Nonet

The debut album of composer Valtteri Laurell Pöyhönen's Nonet formation, "Tigers Are Better Looking" features internationally renowned Finnish clarinetist Antti Sarpila, plus a strong cast of Helsinki-based musicians. Based on the writings of author Jean Rhys (1890–1979), the 6-track album is a melancholy, intimate chamber jazz creation. Laurell's music paints an original, richly-toned sonic image with the highly potent Nonet. Through Rhys's text, Laurell finds a special sense of detachment and melancholy. Laurell has stated Gerry Mulligan, Miles Davis's "Water Babies" and Charles Mingus among the key musical influences on the album.

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Teemu Viinikainen

Teemu Viinikainen, one of Finland's most renowned jazz guitarists, has studied with guidance from mentors such as Pat Metheny and Wayne Krantz, worked as teacher at the Sibelius Academy since 2002 and published two books on jazz guitar. 2001-founded supergroup U-Street All Stars was Viinikainen’s first prominent jazz group. Other notable groups include Jukka Perko’s trio Avara, featuring also guitarist Jarmo Saari. Viinikainen himself has performed with international names like Joe Lovano, Vince Mendoza, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Tim Hagans and Jeff “Tain” Watts. His latest release is his solo guitar collection "Songs of Silence".

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Signe is a jazz band with four female vocalists (Riikka Keränen, Kaisa Mäensivu, Selma Savolainen and Josefiina Vannesluoma). The band's music reflects their background in jazz and nordic heritage and incorporates improvisation, taking traditional jazz expression in new directions through the unusual lineup of four female voices and a double bass.

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Freezer was formed, when woodwind specialist Max Zenger and jazz ensemble Fredator met during a jam. True to their name, Freezer insists on playing 'chillingly swinging jazz'. Their debut single, "Bad Ice Cream", utilises old-school video game sounds, which collide with furiously progressive soundscapes created by Fredator. The trio's debut album "Icebreaker" wille be released later in 2023 through Flame Jazz Records, the record company founded by Freezer members Jussi Fredriksson and Max Zenger.

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Niklas Winter

Niklas Winter is a finnish jazz guitarist and composer. So far, he has made eight records as a leader and has been active as a sideman in several bands. He also runs his own jazz label Abovoice. During the years Winter has performed with the likes of Kenny Wheeler, Ulf Wakenius, Kirite Kanawa, Jesse Van Ruller, Cameron Brown, Henry Lowther, Ted Curson, Lars Jansson, Jukkis Uotila, Teemu Viinikainen, Severi Pyysalo and countless more.

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Aleksis Liukko Trio

Pianist-composer Aleksis Liukko plays in a trio bearing his own name, which released its debut album "The Sonic Sessions" in December 2022. In addition, he plays in, e.g. Sointi Jazz Orchestra, Laura Annika Quartet and other bands. Liukko studied at Metropoli University of Applied Sciences and in 2019 he graduated with a master's degree in music from the University of Gothenburg. Liukko's works have been performed by e.g. Sointi Jazz Orchestra and Bohuslan Big Band. In 2017, he finished third in the Esko Linnavalli big band competition.

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Kadi Vija

Kadi Vija (b. 1985, EST/FIN) has a long background in vocal jazz improvisation and defines herself primarily as a vocal instrumentalist. Vija’s music explores sounds from modernism, jazz and electronics, as well as a deep fascination with rhythmic variety.

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Uusi Aika

The music of jazz quintet Uusi Aika is described as "meditative, deep jazz music for turbulent times". The band's line-up consists of Otto Eskelinen (alto sax, shakuhachi, alto clarinet, piano and vocals), Johannes Sarjasto (piano, synth, accordion and vocals), Tapani Varis (double bass and vocals), Amanda Blomqvist (drums, percussion and vocals) and Antero Mentu (zither).

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Elias Nieminen Ensemble

The Ensemble, led by drummer-composer Elias Nieminen, plays visual and genre-crossing jazz music powered by the energetic 17-piece group. In his compositions, Nieminen creates a compelling and cinematic atmosphere through large orchestral arrangements, strong riffs and improvisation by talented co-musicians.

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Pekka Toivonen Ensemble

Pekka Toivonen Ensemble is a combination of jazz and classical players led by composer - pianist Pekka Toivonen. The band is about to release their next album “Tuntematon mies” in 2022, a freejazz work representing a wilder side of the band. Pekka Toivonen ensemble also includes Joonas Leppänen (drums), Eero Tikkanen (double bass), Johannes Sarjasto (saxophone, recorder), Miia Reko (trumpet, flugelhorn), Yonatan Quemado (violin) and Tatu Ahola (cello).

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Elena Mindru

Originally from Romania, jazz vocalist Elena Mindru has a musical background in classical composing as well as jazz vocals. She’s been described as an exceptionally versatile singer and a charismatic performer. Elena Mindru has released three albums, the latest "Hope" in 2021.

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Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet

Helsinki-based jazz trumpeter and composer Martti Vesala is an acclaimed instrumentalist, composer and pedagogue. His compositions contain catchy melodies supported by lush harmonies and the rhythmic layers of Afro-American heritage of jazz. As a trumpet player, Vesala’s style is influenced by Miles Davis, Freddie Hubbard and Woody Shaw, in addition to the more modern stylings of Dave Douglas and Kenny Wheeler.

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Katu Kaiku

Katu Kaiku was founded when the three young musicians spontaneously got together in one of the streets of Helsinki. After the summer in Finland they continued their grooves indoors concentrating on making their own material and finding their free way of expression. The music of Katu Kaiku is influenced by bebop, free jazz, popular music, nature and human temperaments.

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Look Mom

Up-and-coming indie jazz quintet Look Mom's main musical elements are strong, catchy melodies, head-bobbing rhythms and warm, energetic performances. The group has released two LPs of original compositions in 2021 and 2022, and has performed in venues ranging from festivals to small bars. The musicians' backgrounds range from classical to hip hop, bringing a world outside the boundaries of conventional jazz. Look Mom's performances strive to create an intimate space for their audiences to dive deep into the music.

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Jussi Reijonen

It is said that music does not lie in the notes themselves but between them, and it is exactly in that space where fretless/fretted guitarist and oudist Jussi Reijonen‘s music thrives and blossoms. Along his path, Jussi has worked as bandleader, sideman, composer or arranger with a diverse array of world-renowned artists. He has also performed extensively at prestigious festivals and venues throughout the United States like Lincoln Center and the Library of Congress, as well as in various other countries.

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Matti Salo Quartet

Matti Salo is a composer, guitarist, sound designer and music teacher. He has composed and performed music from jazz to death metal. Matti Salo Quartet is his jazz quartet. They perform an eclectic fusion of free jazz, world music, ambient and rock with avantgarde influences.

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Mikko Sarvanne Garden

Mikko Sarvanne Garden, the new band of the young composer-multi-instrumentalist Mikko Sarvanne, takes the listener to a parallel reality, to a garden where the beginnings of contemporary vocal music, soft jazz and sound art echo. Consisting of three vocal voices, cello, bass, percussion and electronics, the band sculpts time, creating both glowingly energetic and forest-quiet moments.

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Max Zenger

Max Zenger is a saxophonist and woodwind specialist who plays in various groups as a leader and sideman. Zenger’s style fuses elements from old and new jazz, influences of world music and adventurous improvisation. Under his name Zenger has released many albums with several bands and is constantly working on a project or two to develop his musical language and composing tools. Max's aim is to musically renew himself and to present fresh music with an individual touch.

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Eero Koivistoinen

One of the cornerstones in Finnish jazz, saxman Eero Koivistoinen, has crossed paths with many ensembles along his long career. This latest quartet plays mostly Koivistoinen’s compositions, new and older. The music is lyrical and energetic. Jazz legend Koivistoinen’s quartet consists of himself, Alexi Tuomarila, Jori Huhtala and Jussi Lehtonen.

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Lampen is Kalle Kalima and Tatu Rönkkö. Kalle plays guitar, Tatu plays percussions and sampler. Together they're Lampen, a duo making "post jazz" with a musical heart far beyond genre. Their music presents two artists who have a knack at making music which opens up with each listen, pulling you deeper and deeper. Meditative passages flow by slowly as in a peaceful river stream, erupting into full rapids of sound when the time is right. This is sonic rafting for the curious listener.

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Kerkko Koskinen

Kerkko Koskinen is principally known to Finns as the songwriter, keyboard player and leader of the hugely popular band Ultra Bra in the 1990s. Even in those days, he was ambitious and uncompromising in writing music, and that has not changed. He has since written music for instance for the 60-member Kerkko Koskinen Kollektiivi and for the UMO Jazz Orchestra, besides writing film scores and incidental music for the stage.

Aki Rissanen

Over the last years, pianist Aki Rissanen has made a name for himself in the international jazz world both as a leader and as a sideman. His trio's recent, critically acclaimed album 'Another North' on Edition Records, with Antti Lötjönen on bass and Teppo Mäkynen on drums, is his most authoritative work to date. His previous album Amorandom won the Finnish Grammy for the best jazz album of the year in 2016.

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Silva Kallionpää Quartet

Silva Kallionpää Quartet, a fusion of four players with their own voices, which has been active since 2017, is not afraid to test its own limits. Their compositions, drawing from modern jazz and sometimes end up in undefined grooves, frame the group's conversational work style. Music tells stories, which are created with new nuances at each performance. The band's debut album "Unadaptable" was released in April 2022 via Eclipse Music.

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Alexi Tuomarila / Lithium

Pianist and composer Alexi Tuomarila is a well known name in the European Jazz scene. With extensive touring behind him as a leader as well as with trumpeter and ECM artist Tomasz Stanko, Tuomarila has become a regular in many European jazz projects. Currently Tuomarila has worked with Jonne Taavitsainen, Joonas Tuuri and Andre Fernandes in a collaborative called Lithium.

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