This year’s edition of London Jazz Festival includes a special program entitled Finnish Jazz at London Jazz Festival. From November 9 to 17, the festival programme is pumped up by exhilarating constellations of Finnish jazz talent, among others, Verneri Pohjola Quartet, Oddarrang, Black Motor and Iro Haarla.
Verneri Pohjola Quartet released its latest album Ancient History on ACT. The album was well received, as John Fordham writes in The Guardian: “This is imaginative, beautifully executed contemporary jazz.” Verneri Pohjola Quartet will play on Friday November 9 at 18:00 at South Bank Centre in a free entrance event.
Drummer Olavi Louhivuori’s Oddarrang is a sextet that melds influences from jazz, classical music and postmodern rock music into cinematic soundscapes, which unveil themselves slowly and build remarkable sonic narratives in the process. Their second album, released in 2011, got them well-deserved attention from all over the world. Oddarang is featured at BBC Radio 3 on Saturday 10 November and will play at South Bank Centre on the same day. Also this event is free.
A more energetic approach to jazz can be found at Barbican Freestage on Sunday 11 November in yet another free event. The Finnish day on the Barbican Freestage features the improvisation quintet Rakka, the Finnish-Norwegian trio Kuára, the quartet Anna-Mari Kähärän Orkesteri and the improvisation trio Black Motor, which have also won over audiences far beyond the ”jazz crowd” with their honest and hard-hitting musical approach.
On Monday 12 November, one of the best internationally known Finnish jazz musician Iiro Rantala performs at St James’ Piccadilly. He will be accompanied by Adam Baldych, a young jazzviolin comet from Poland for the first time in the UK.
On Tuesday 13 November it’s the turn of Nordic co-operation as Iro Haarla, Trygve Seim and Ulf Krokfors takes the stage at St James Piccadilly. Iro Haarla has made a long career in jazz through her involvement with the scene since the 1970’s, collaborating with the likes of legendary drummer Edward Vesala.
And the last of the Finnish Jazz at London Jazz Festival program is the Juhani Aaltonen Quartet. It’s a quartet where a long time saxophonist Aaltonen has reconnected with musicians representing a link to different phases in his career. The quartet is Juhani Aaltonen, Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors and Reino Laine.
Finnish Jazz at London Jazz Festival is part of Music Finland UK 2012-2013 project which aims to increase the export volume and promote the visibility of Finnish music in the UK.