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April Jazz (Finland) celebrates

April Jazz Festival celebrates its 30th anniversary on April 20.-26. in Espoo, a neighbouring city to Helsinki and part of the metropolitan area. The main venues, Tapiola Hall and Louhi Hall are located at Espoo Cultural Centre, just about 15 minutes bus drive from Helsinki city center.

There’s a lot good music going on those days. The main attractions come from USA but a lot or perhaps the most interesting artists come from both Europe and Finland. The festival starts with the concert of Hammond virtuoso Joey DeFrancesco (20.4.) and ends with the famous vocal group Take 6 (26.4.).

The hiphop generation vocalist José James makes his jazz, soul and drum’n’bass blend on 21.4., and saxophone player Chris Potter performs with his quartet on 23.4.

Two nice mixes of European / Finnish groups in double concerts are absolutely also worth listening to. The first of those two features trumpeter Kalevi Louhivuori Quintet together with the Austrian David Helbock Trio on 22.4. The second one consists of a French duo Emile Parisien (sax) – Vincent Peirani (accordion) together with Romanian rooted Finnish singer Elena Mindru Third Stream Project (23.4.).

Both these concerts are really highly interesting. Kalevi Louhivuori Quintet releases its new album «Almost American Standards» (CAM JAZZ). That is Louhivuori’s compositions someway referring to American jazz standards from the 3 decades period 1940-60’s. Pianist David Helbock’s career is rising high with speed partly due to the highly acclaimed 2015 release «Aural Colours». Still comparatively unkown musician but widely considered The Name of the Future. The sound of this piano trio is very unique because of the bass ukulele (instead of a standard double bass) played by Raphael Preuschl.

It is sure that Parisien – Peirani duo will bring some French elegance to the stage. Just listen to Peirani’s 2015 release «Living Being» (ACT). And just like Helbock, young Elena Mindru is still quite unknown here but according to many comments she is already the best young female vocalist in Finland.

Not only April Jazz has its anniversary but The Finnish Jazz Federation, too. One of the 50 years celebration projects has its premier during April Jazz. The celebration concert (22.4.) features recent Georgie Award winners with some of the older ‘Georgies’. The basic band is Mikko Innanen (sax and arr.), Teemu Viinikainen (g), Kari Ikonen (keys), Ulf Krokfors (b) and Teppo Mäkynen (dr). Among the guest soloists are ao. Eero Koivistoinen, Severi Pyysalo and Antti Sarpila. The music will cover the whole history of Finnish jazz, with contemporary arrangements, of course.

This is just a glimpse of April Jazz buffet. See more: www.apriljazz.fi

Text: Timo Vähäsilta

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