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The Finnish Georgie Award to Ulf «Uffe» Krokfors

The Finnish Jazz Federation has since 1967 given its Georgie Award to one distinguished jazz musician. This year Georgie went to Ulf Krokfors and the nomination took place during Tampere Jazz Happening along with a fantastic concert by his trio.

Ulf Krokfors made his recording debut on the legendary Edward Vesala ECM-album Ode To The Death Of Jazz back in 1989 (released in 1990). Since then he has more or less been a kind of ‘Numero Uno’ bass player in Finland playing in numerous bands ao. led by Otto Donner, Raoul Björkenheim’s Krakatau, Jarmo Savolainen, and, last but definitely not least, with Juhani Aaltonen Trio.

Lately, for a number of years, he has had a close relationship (not only musically but personally, too) with pianist-harpist and composer Iro Haarla, whose music has been released on various albums on ECM and the Finnish TUM Records.

The concert itself was great. Krokfors was on stage with Iro Haarla on piano, and Markku Ounaskari on drums. The concert venue was big (more than 500 seats) but the overall feeling was intimate. Just like in a jazz club or a small chamber music hall.

All three musicians played beautifully. Iro Haarla’s delicate piano work has perhaps never been this well on frame and thus it was something extraordinary wonderful to listen to. The same goes with Markku Ounaskari, a sensitively reacting, personally and creatively playing drummer.

The ‘Maestro’ of the day, Ulf Krokfors himself, had naturally a lot of solo time, for obvious reasons. His rich, strong and at the same time warm and soft bass sound was nicely mixed in the front. Not too loudly but impressively. The whole thing was such a charming and delightful opening for the whole festival.

A bit back to Georgie Award. The first ever ‘Georgie’ was Eero Koivistoinen. Other Georgies have ao. been Juhani Aaltonen, Heikki Sarmanto, Edward Vesala (exceptionally twice!), Raoul Björkenheim, Jarmo Savolainen, Jukka Tolonen, Sakari Kukko (the world music ensemble Piirpauke’s founder and leader). Just to mention a few internationally known names who might ring a bell to Salt-Peanut’s readers.

Text: Timo Vähäsilta

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