The Finnish Jazz Legend Prizes have been awarded since 2001. In 2001–2014, Finnish Big Band Association, Finnish Jazz & Pop Archive and Imatra Big Band Festival awarded a total of 28 Jazz legends. Since 2017, Music Archive Finland has been responsible for distributing the awards. The 2020 awards were presented at Malmitalo in Helsinki at a concert by Iro Haarla Quartet.
Finnish Jazz Legend No. 35 is keyboardist and composer Iro Haarla, who studied piano, composition and arrangement at Sibelius Academy. In the late 1970s, Haarla began a long-term collaboration with Edward Vesala. Haarla’s contribution was particularly significant in the band Sound & Fury, where she acted not only as a musician but also as a refiner of Vesala’s compositional ideas. Since the beginning of the 21st century, Haarla has mainly played in her own ensembles and has performed in several European countries as well as in North America. In recent years, Haarla has recorded not only for the Finnish record label TUM but also for the prestigious German ECM. Haarla received Jazz Finland’s prestigious Yrjö Award in 2006.
Finnish Jazz Legend No. 36 Wiola Talvikki (now Wiola Talvi) is a pioneer of Finnish jazz singing. Talvikki began her career in 1956 as a soloist with Onni Gideon‘s orchestra, one of Finland’s leading dance orchestras at the time. In the late 1950s, Talvikki was considered by many contemporary critics to be the best jazz singer in Finland. Talvikki moved to London in 1960, later living in the USA as well. During her long international career, Talvikki has performed all over the world and worked with many notable artists, e.g. on Tom Jones‘ tour. In Finland, Talvikki last recorded in 1989 with leading Finnish musicians. A collection of Talvikki’s 1950s recordings, called Jazzvokalismia 1956-1960, was recently restored and released by the record label Sointu.
List of previously awarded Finnish Jazz Legend Prizes: