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Arttu Takalo

vibrafonist/ composer

Arttu Takalo (b. 1971) is a Kouvola-based vibraphone player and composer. He started his musical career at the age of 8 by taking lessons in piano and drums at the conservatory of Kymi. In 1986 Takalo was accepted to the junior education department at Sibelius Academy and four years later he continued on the classical, soloistic side but finally ended to the jazz department on 1992. In 1980's Takalo played as a sideman in e.g. Radio Symphony Orchestra but the young vibist was more interested in composing  and so he ended up consentraiting in his studies on jazz composing that he was taught by e.g. Sonny Heinilä.

The real music school for Takalo was though XL, the band formed by guitarist Jarmo Saari, where the early compositions of Takalo really found a form and were refined to complited music, to sound like Takalo. The debut album of the band already presented four songs composed by the vibist and the amount of the compositions on the total output of XL is divided quite evenly between Takalo and Saari. In the middle of 1990's Takalo started to compose music more actively also for other bands from big bands to chamber orchestras and the first piece for a symphony orchestra he wrote in 1997.

Besides XL, in 1990's Takalo played also in several other bands, e.g. in Loop Treatment of Anssi Nykänen and the band of Mia Simanainen. The musical job description of Takalo got even more diverse when he started to make string arrangements for the albums of Samuli Edelmann and Mikko Kuustonen. The vibist has also been an important part of the tour bands of the Finnish singers and he has been performed as an arranger and a vibist on tours with e.g. rockmusicians Ismo Alanko and Kalle Ahola.  One long-lasting band for Takalo has also been Pipoka, accordionist Veli Kujala's band that performs Brasilian-Ugrian chamber jazz.

In 2000 Takalo was nominated as The Artist of the Year by the Pori Jazz Festival and performed on the festival i.a. with Poppoo. In the same year he started to lead his own quartet where, besides Takalo, playes guitarist Marzi Nyman, bass player Harri Rantanen and drummer Anssi Nykänen. The band performed as Standars Live and gave personal touch to the jazzstandards, but soon some own material started to appear to the repertoire as well. Takalo's debut soloalbum When I fall (EMI) was released in 2002. The album is a great proof of the versatility of the vibist and it was a nominee for the Teosto prize as well. Besides his own record projects, Takalo has had time to make music also for the classical groups. In 2004 Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra performed the saxophone concerto composed for Jukka Perko. Takalo was also one of the arrangers on Perko's Kaananmaa album which included re-arranged psalms.