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 and Elifantree’s eclectic electronics, and 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 below!

Featured cover artist: Iiro Rantala


New Jazz from Finland

Related Artists

Black Motor

Founded by saxophonist Sami Sippola, bassist Ville Rauhala and drummer Simo Laihonen, Black Motor crashed on the Finnish jazz scene with a furious attitude in 2005. On Branches the trio's powerful free music brims with energy, melodic innovation, and a strong sense of unity.

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OK:KO

Drummer and vibraphonist Okko Saastamoinen formed his quartet OK:KO in 2015 together with pianist Toomas Keski-Säntti, saxophonist-flautist Jarno Tikka and bassist Mikael Saastamoinen. OK:KO has already gained positive attention at the Young Nordic Jazz Comets showcase, and We Jazz festival awarded the band leader Okko Saastamoinen with an honorary title “We Jazz Rising Star” in 2016.

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Mikko Innanen 10+

Saxophone player, composer Mikko Innanen is one of the most active movers and shakers in Finnish jazz scene and also the leader of this top-notch 12-piece ensemble. Mikko Innanen 10+ play Innanen’s music, realizing his wildest musical visions by reaching to all the extremes of jazz's tradition and giving space for improvisation.

Eero Koivistoinen & UMO

Saxophonist and composer Eero Koivistoinen, is going through an exceptionally creative phase in his career at 70. Koivistoinen's Arctic Blues is a showcase of his talents as composer, arranger, saxophonist as well as conductor, conducting one of the most remarkable European big bands of today.

Plastic Island

Plastic Island is a new trio formed by Johanna Sulkunen on vocals, Aki Rissanen on keyboards and Joonas Leppänen on drums. The group’s music borders somewhere between improvisation, jazz and avant-garde pop and it’s filled with risk taking and raw energy.

Linear John

After playing in numerous bands, including Eternal Erection and Lightboxer, Markus Holkko has released his debut album under the name Linear John. His debut album Hits with a Twist (Agogo Records) combines jazz and wayward pop with influences ranging from electronics to avant-garde.

Utopianisti

Utopianisti is a group from Tampere, Finland led by multi-instrumentalist, composer, producer Markus Pajakkala. Utopianisti’s music explores the realms of jazz and rock with a progressive, open-minded and sometimes avant-garde touch, similar to those of Frank Zappa and Pekka Pohjola.

Iiro Rantala

Rantala's solo career kicked off with his 2011 ACT debut “Lost Heroes”, which won the Jazz album of the year 2011 German Critic’s award. In June 2012 Rantala received the ECHO Jazz for Best International Pianist. To date Rantala has released seven records on ACT Music.

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.

Aki Rissanen Trio

Pianist Aki Rissanen (b. 1980) is among the few top forces of his instrument in Finnish Jazz. He has released 7 albums under his own name and has recorded with such names as Dave Liebman, Rick Margitza, Tim Hagans and Verneri Pohjola. His latest album is critically acclaimed Amorandom (Edition Records).

Mikko Sarvanne Hip Company

An energetic jazz group consisting of 11 promising and prolific young musicians, who play compositions written by guitarist and composer Mikko Sarvanne. The band's sound, where jazz, noise rock and spoken word poetry clash, is intimate, yet rough and has a groovy element in it.

Jukka Perko Avara

Jukka Perko continues his relationship with ACT Music, which was established in 2015 with a collaboration album It Takes Two To Tango with pianist Iiro Rantala. With trio Avara, one of Finland’s leading saxophonists Perko collaborates with guitarists Teemu Viinikainen and Jarmo Saari, both major names on their own regard.

Elifantree

Helsinki based Elifantree delivers an experimental musical trip on the border between pop and improvised music. On their third full-length Movers and Shakers Elifantree developed an increasingly danceable edge to their sound that only reveals the band’s jazz background upon close inspection.

Oddarrang

Experimental Finnish band Oddarrang make a genre-defying sound, influenced by jazz, classical, world music and postmodern rock. Oddarrang’s fascinating mix of musical moods, traditions and their unusual instrumentation (trombone, cello, guitar, acoustic bass and drums) are gaining them more fans at every performance.

Joonas Haavisto Trio

Joonas Haavisto, one of the most talented Finnish jazz pianists of his generation, released his new album “oku” through Fredriksson Music in January 2016. Haavisto on piano is joined by Antti Lötjönen on bass and Joonas Riippa on drums.

Espoo Big Band

Espoo Big Band (EBB) is one of Finland’s most prominent big jazz orchestras and especially known for performing new Finnish big band music. EBB has toured in Asia, Australia and Brazil, performed at several festivals such as Detroit, Montreaux and Paris and released ten albums.

Jorma Kalevi Louhivuori

Jorma Kalevi Louhivuori has toured around the world and performed with Dave Liebman, Al Foster, Hugh Masekela, Bob Mintzer among others. In Finland he works in numerous different bands & productions. On Almost American Standards his concept is to flirt with famous American standards.

Kalle Kalima

Kalle Kalima’s music is mean, moody, magnificent, and is also adventurous and full of surprises. With his other experiments 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! On High Noon Kalima takes a look at the themes of western films and evergreens.

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.

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.

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. On his new LP Saxcentric, Tenor fine tunes his Afro-Jazz feelings.