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

Dalindèo

Dalindèo is a sextet founded in 2003 and led by composer and guitarist Valtteri Pöyhönen. The group’s unique sound consists of danceable rhythms, strong melodies and an emphasis on the craftsmanship of top musicians. Their fourth album Slavic Souls blends contemporary jazz with Finnish Tango and northern schlager.

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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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Nikita Rafaelov

Nikita Rafaelov is a keyboardist-pianist and composer known for his collaborations with artists such as Teppo Mäkynen (on the Atonal Drums project), Markus Perttula, Silva Kallionpää and countless more. Rafaelov released his debut solo ''Spirit of Gaia'' in 2018. In his own works, Rafaelov uses e.g. acoustic and prepared pianos, loopers, synthesizers, electric pianos and samples, creating minimalist, rhythmic and hypnotic compositions. The versatile keyboardist effortlessly cruises through the cool waters of jazz, electro-acoustic music and ambient with been hip-hop, new age and lo-fi aesthetics as added inspiration.

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Kama Kollektiv

Kama Kollektiv is an Amsterdam based group formed by Finnish-born vocalist/trumpeter Kirsi-Marja Harju. The band combines the elements of jazz, Nordic folk and indie with poetic lyrics. Kama Kollektiv released their first album “Koti” in 2019. The 2nd album “Toivo” (translates to Hope) released in 2021, strived to bring hope in the midst of pandemic and climate crisis. The 3rd one is named "As if I Lived A Different Life" and released in 2024.

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Aurora Hentunen

Aurora Hentunen’s music contains a lot of references from Northern Jazz and melodies from Scandinavian folk music. Her music has been described as very compositional and the band as distinctive, led by mature young musicians. The band is considered as one of the rising stars in the Northern Jazz scene.

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Olli Ahvenlahti

The legendary Finnish pianist/composer Olli Ahvenlahti has returned with his first new jazz work in decades! On his new album "Thinking, Whistling" Ahvenlahti teamed up with the Jaska Lukkarinen Trio, one of the most highly-regarded ensembles in Finnish jazz. From funk-influenced acoustic jazz to heartfelt ballads, the band are delightfully in a world of their own, drawing from Ahvenlahti's effortless pianism and the trios natural swing.

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. Lassy's discography now boasts around a dozen full-length releases as a solo artist an/or with different collaborators and combos.

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Verneri Pohjola

Trumpeter and composer Verneri Pohjola is acknowledged as a jazz star in the making. In June 2017 Pohjola released Pekka, an album that promises to be a defining moment in Finnish culture, reinterpreting the music of Verneri’s late father Pekka Pohjola, the internationally acclaimed and revered prog-rock bassist and composer, through the prism of his son’s unique vision. Pohjola's latest album is a co-operation together with French saxophonist Sylvain Rifflet, released in 2022.

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The Stance Brothers

Jazz drummer and composer extraordinaire, Teppo Mäkynen, released his acclaimed debut album "Kind Soul" as The Stance Brothers in 2007. At that time, the alias also hosted a live band gathered around the name, that lived a short but intense period of activity. The previous The Stance Brothers release was the vinyl single Minor Minor (2018), followed by the hip hop influenced version of Resolution Blue, a track from the Timo Lassy & Teppo Mäkynen album in 2020.

Mikko Innanen

Saxophonist/composer Mikko Innanen emerged on Nordic avant-garde jazz scene in the late '90s. He studied jazz in both Denmark and Finland, and played all around Europe during the early 2000’s, joining with various Finnish groups, as well as the French outfit Triade. His current bands and projects include Autonomus, Innanen Pasborg Piromalli, Littorina Saxophone Quartet, Plop & Junnu and Gourmet. Although Innanen's playing and composing can be quite cerebral and abstract, he has a definite sense of the blues and isn't avant-garde in an overly confrontational or abrasive way.

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Maja Mannila

Maja Mannila is a young jazz/soul singer, pianist and composer, whose songs are a mix of r'n'b, soul, jazz and gospel music. Raised in a family of musicians, she has a firm grasp on making music, while emphasizing the importance of freedom and fun in creating and playing music. In the future, Mannila aims for recording and international gigs both with a band and as a solo artist. Mannila has been noted by English drummer Richard Spaven and singer Anthony Strong, who have asked her to perform with them. She also plays and sings in Iiro Rantala's new trio and in the up-and-coming band Peela.

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VIRTA

For a bassless trio, VIRTA create a huge soundscape; expressive, avant garde & eminently fresh with an occasional nod to fellow Nordic sonic experimenters Nils Petter Molvaer & Jaga Jazzist. Formed in 2011, their playing is characterized by skillful musicianship and inventive use of electronic effects, with occasional atmospheric vocals. Virta also has a reputation as a fierce live ensemble.

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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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Risto Hemmi

Finnish music industry heavyweight Risto Hemmi is the former CEO and one of the current owners of Finland's largest recording studio Finnvox. Hemmi started his career at Finnvox Studios in 1979, and has since worked there as a recording artist, mixer, studio manager and since 1993 as CEO. All nine studios of Finnvox are designed by Hemmi. He has recorded and mixed more than 500 albums, dozens of which have sold gold or platinum. In addition to other studio work, Hemmi has recorded and mixed music for about 30 films during his career, including the 2014 film Big Game directed by Jalmari Helander and starring Samuel L. Jackson.

Freezer

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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Kalle Kalima

Kalle Kalima’s music is mean, moody, magnificent, and is also adventurous and full of surprises. With his other experiments, such as Tenors of Kalma and Lampen he’s off exploring the badlands on the borders of rock, putting his hand on his heart to salute his Finnish homeland, and then inspiring jazz lawlessness in the band Kuu!

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Josefiina Vannesluoma & Mortal Lease

Josefiina Vannesluoma is a Turku-born jazz singer and composer, known for e.g. vocal group from Signe. His expression includes a diverse interest, from jazz traditions to Brazilian music and from contemporary classical to free improvisation. Mortal Lease, composed of Finland's foremost young jazz musicians, interprets Vannesluoma's compositions to Edith Wharton's poems. Passionate language images spark into symphonic scenes when treated by a jazz band. Flame Jazz Records will release the band's debut album in autumn 2023.

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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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Tero Lindberg

Tero Lindberg is one of Finland's leading trumpet players. He has played on numerous records and tours with some our Finland's leading artists, as well as in several TV show orchestras. He has released two full-length solo albums: "Kultaisen Trumpetin Paluu" (2015) and "Kultainen Trumpetti Iskee Jälleen" (2018). Lindberg has also toured Europe with Sunrise Avenue, Leningrad Cowboys and Jimi Tenor. He has been the artistic director of the Turku Jazz Orchestra in the years 2018–2021. In 2023, Tero Lindberg and the Turku Jazz Orchestra join forces for a slice of big band funk with "Cold War 3.0", the upcoming debut album by the famed trumpeter and the orchestra.

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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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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. In 2013, they successfully started collaborating with three rappers – Redrama, Paleface and Father Metro – under the name Ricky-Tick Big Band ja Julkinen Sana.

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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. Their debut album "In the key of K" was released in December 2017.

Signe

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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Héctor Lepe

Héctor Lepe is a Mexican jazz guitarist and composer who currently works in Helsinki. He started studying classical guitar as a teenager. In 2013, his music studies brought Lepe to Helsinki and in 2015 he was accepted to Sibelius Academy. Lepe has quickly become one of the most interesting new promises on the Finnish jazz scene. The album "Pedro's Dream" is Lepe's debut as both a band leader and a composer. The compositions are inspired by Mexican folklore, literature and art. His quartet consists of saxophonist Max Zenger, bassist Juuso Rinta and drummer Teemu Mustonen. The band subtly manages to mix Latin American elements with the tonality of modern jazz.

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Njet Njet 9

Njet Njet 9 is a lively "mini big band" – namely a nine-piece – with a cheerful touch to making music. Their music has been called "rich in arrangement, painting vast musical landscapes that range from nostalgic to futuristic". As band leader Ville Kyttälä puts it "Njet Njet 9's music sounds like Zappa and Zawinul are playing tennis with Massive Attack at a Swedish summer cottage". Njet Njet 9 released their third album "III" in 2020 and is continuing their mission to open-mindedly mix genres and not take things too seriously. The line-up consists of Ville Kyttälä (keys), Martti Vesala (trumpet), Mikko Haanpää (trombone), Markus Pajakkala (sax), Ilmari Rönkä (sax), Pekka Seppänen (sax), Veikki Virkajärvi (guitar), Heikki Laine (bass) and Erik Fräki (drums).

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Tuomo Uusitalo

Tuomo Uusitalo is an award-winning pianist, composer, arranger and educator. Having released three albums as a leader, and appearing on numerous albums as a sideman, he has established himself in the New York jazz scene, and continues touring internationally both as a leader as well as sideman.

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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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Aarni Häkkinen Jazz Orchestra

Aarni Häkkinen is a composer, conductor and a trombone player based in Helsinki, Finland. He is known for his work with big bands in all roles and played on a Grammy-nominated big band album "Remembering Bob Freedman" with Ron Carter (2021). As a trombone player Häkkinen has played with the best of the best in Finnish music scene: big bands suchs as UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, Espoo Big Band and Aviapolis Big Band and side by side with musicians such as Jukkis Uotila, Jussi Lehtonen, Jukka Eskola, Kalevi Louhivuori, Kasperi Sarikoski and Mikael Jakobsson. His debut album as a bandleader titled "Aarni Häkkinen Jazz Orchestra" was released on Bopcat Records in 2023.

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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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Jukka Linkola Tentet

29 years have passed since the debut album of the composer, pianist and conductor Jukka Linkola's ensemble The Tentet, who is celebrating his 50-year career as an artist this year. In 2021, the band returned to the concert stages after a long break and with a new line-up. The new line-up's new album Rumba Liberte was released in April 2023. The Tentet's music alternates between forward-moving rhythmic swing and balladic elements. Its expression combines the timbres of a large ensemble with the sensitivity of a smaller ensemble.

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Juho Peltoniemi Trio

Drummer Juho Peltoniemi's compositions are what happens when Nordic jazz sound and African-American jazz tradition meet. "Dust Dancing", the debut album of his trio ensemble features internationally known top trumpeter Martti Vesala (Martti Vesala Soundpost Quintet, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, Njet Njet 9). Peltoniemi's trio is completed by double bassist Juho Kivivuori and pianist Aleksis Liukko. Juho Peltoniemi is a drummer, musician and pop jazz music pedagogue. Since the 2000s, he has worked as a musician in several bands, e.g. Maratone Quintet, Aleksi Ranta Group, Heads & Tales and Luhtala Rinaldi Jazz Project, touring in various formations at the most important domestic jazz clubs and festivals and abroad in Italy, Spain, Norway, Estonia and the USA.

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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 and the successor "Sounds of Salo" followed in 2023.

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Sanna Ruohoniemi

Finnish-born singer Sanna Ruohoniemi, based in Stockholm, is the latest in a long line of individual Nordic artists and composers melding the open-sky freedom of modern jazz with the rich folk traditions of her homelands. Her album ”Start from Nothing” (2018) was praised by critics, in Sweden and abroad, among others Europe Jazz Media Chart included as one of the best new releases in Europe in November 2018. Ruohoniemi is slowly but surely coming up with her third album.

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Janne Huttunen

Janne Huttunen is known as a wide-ranging music maker, film composer, producer and saxophonist. On "Two Shadows of You", the follow-up to his jazz debut, "Janne Was Here" (2018), Huttunen's stylish and catchy jazz is backed by a Finnish jazz all-stars band: pianist Henri Mäntylä, bassist Ville Herrala, drummer Jaska Lukkarista, along with a list of guest stars. The album is full of irresistibly swinging and stylish jazz music down to the last detail, where, in addition to the compelling musicianship, memorable compositions and melodic hooks and soundscapes that paint atmospheric views take center stage. The songs have a sense of melody coming from Huttunen's pop background.

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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.

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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