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

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.

Jukka Eskola

Jukka Eskola (born 1978) is a Finnish trumpet player who ranks among the most sought-after jazz artists in Finland. He is known as the leader of the Jukka Eskola Quintet, Jukka Eskola Orquesta Bossa, and as a member of The Five Corners Quintet, Finland’s most successful jazz outfit to date, plus the live band of Jimi Tenor, to name but a few.

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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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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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Ilmiliekki Quartet

With trumpetist Verneri Pohjola, pianist Tuomo Prättälä, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori in the line-up, Ilmiliekki Quartet is a band of four star-calibre Finnish jazz musicians. Stylistically the range from the delicate end of the sparse contemporary jazz sound to the depths of Nordic fire music, always staying highly personal and melodic to the bone.

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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Kokko Quartet

Jazz foursome Kokko Quartet aims to cross boundaries between different music styles, with influences ranging from North and South India to Arabic and Ethiopian music. Their songs are mainly composed by saxophone player Kaisa Siirala. The quartet's line-up includes Kaisa Siirala on saxophones and bansuri flute, Johanna Pitkänen on piano, Timo Tuppurainen on bass and Risto Takala on drums.

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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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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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The quartet led by saxophonist Max Zenger plays open-minded and playful, yet melancholic jazz. The group relies on Zenger’s compositions, influenced by his past experiences and encounters and brought to life by each member’s unique interpretation. So far, they’ve released two albums “Chapter 1” in 2016 and “Chapter 2” in 2017 to be followed by “Chapter 3” in 2022.

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Joonas Tuuri Quartet

A newcomer in the Finnish jazz scene, Joonas Tuuri quartet plays the compositions of base player Joonas Tuuri. Their music provides a strong, sensitive interplay and tangible atmospheres taking influence from acts like Wayne Shorter and Chick Corea. Joonas Tuuri Quartet's debut album "Dimensions" was released in 2022. The other members of the band are Ilmari Rönkä (alto sax), Toomas Keski-Säntti (piano) and Anssi Tirkkonen (drums).

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Mariam Sandhu

Mariam Sandhu is a singer, whose career took off in a Finnish institution, the yearly Tangomarkkinat singing competition in 2014. Not limited to tango – or even jazz for that matter – Sandhu enjoys singing also schlager, blues, classical, pop and rock.

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 released in 2022 is a co-operation together with French saxophonist Sylvain Rifflet.

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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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Hot Heros

Saxophonist Sami Sippola, bassist Ville Rauhala and drummer Janne Tuomi form the trio Hot Heros. 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.

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Riikka Keränen

The Helsinki based vocalist-composer Riikka Keränen (also known from the vocal ensemble Signe) is about to release her debut album “A Vision of a Garden” via Flame Jazz Records in 2022. Her music fuses jazz aesthetic and improvisation with evocative stories. Along with Riikka, the quartet consists of pianist Juho Valjakka, bassist Jori Huhtala and drummer Anssi Tirkkonen.

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Varre Vartiainen

Describing his background as bop & roll guitarist Varre Vartiainen has been part of the Finnish jazz and rock scene for over 25 years. Vartiainen is known from the grooving guitar-fronted act Husband and has worked with many established musicians including Timo Lassy and Anssi Nykänen. He was elected as the young soloist of the year by UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra in 1998. Vartiainen released his first solo album “The Lost Case” in 2011.

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UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra

Consisting of some of the best jazz musicians in Finland, UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra moves from jazz and soul to classical music, mixing the old and new in surprising ways. The Big Band plays around 100 concerts every year in Finland and abroad. Their latest album “Last Dance” released in 2022 is the first recording between the orchestra and their new conductor and artistic leader Ed Partyka.

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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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Tapani Rinne

Tapani Rinne has a unique sounds of his own as he uses both saxophone and clarinet in his music. He is well known from the music groups RinneRadio and Wimme & Rinne. Currently he is working with composer and producer Juha Mäki-Patola and they're about to release an album in 2022 combining ambient, jazz and neo-classical music.

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