Kuva/ Photo: Heikki Tuuli
Antti Sarpila (b. 1964) has been one of the most important actors in preserving the traditional jazz in Finland for over a quarter century. This master of clarinet and saxophone met Bob Wilber, the legend of traditional jazz, at Pori Jazz festival in 1980 and studied under Wilber for a while which taught Sarpila a lot about the early jazz. The cooperation of these two blowers in 1980's culminated in the Tribute to Benny Goodman concert organized in Carnagie Hall, New York in 1988 where Sarpila featured Wilber's Big Band as a soloist. The list of Sarpila's international featurings is long: his skills have used for example Count Basie Orchestra, Dutch Metropole Orchestra and Swedish Swing Society.
Since 1990 Sarpila has released his music through his own label and has done it a lot: there is over 30 albums in his catalogue. The group on these releases has mainly been Sarpila's own Antti Sarpila Swing Band and singer Johanna Iivanainen has often featured as a soloist on these records, though many other famous singers, such as Eino Grön, have been heard as well. Sarpila has also recorded with i.a. UMO and Pori Big Band.
Though Sarpila is specialized in the early styles of jazz, that he calls "classic jazz", he performs also now and then with the modern bands. A good example of this was the album New Moods - New Sounds (Blue Note), with vibist Severi Pyysalo, that was released in 2001 and was a nominee for the Jazz-Emma prize in Emma Awards in 2001. Sarpila produces and markets his music through his own company and has thus deep understanding of the demand of traditional jazz in Finland. He has enriched our music culture woth several projects, for example with the traditional christmas tours with his own Swing Band.
In 1996 Sarpila received the Classic Jazz's Louis Armstrong prize and one year later he was also awarded with the Jazz Federation's Georgie Prize.