Jorma Tapio


Saxophonist Jorma "Joppe" Tapio (b. 1957) has been called as the "outlaw of Finnish jazz". If the characterization is seen as walking his own paths, questioning the musical boundaries and dedicating for his creative work, it is completely true.

Tapio started his music career in 1970s in Turku by playing music from bebop to rock. In 1984 Tapio participated in the workshop of Edward Vesala that was a start for a long and intense cooperation with Vesala, till the death of the drummer in 1999. In Vesala's Sound & Fury Tapio played the whole time, also on the albums released by ECM. Sound & Fury has remained as one of the most important and internationally acclaimed Finnish jazzbands in the history. The vision of Edward Vesala is still alive in the works of the musicians who played with him.

Jorma Tapio had time and energy also for other groups besides Sound & Fury, for example for Tapio-Hongisto Quartet that performed actively and guitarist Björkenheim's Krakatau's first version. His own bands were also Hugrymen and the wind orchestra born after Hugrymen, Hugry Tribal Marching Band. A bit smaller wind orchestra was the Open Mind Trio with saxophonist Pepa Päivinen and fagotist Heikki Wikla.

In the late-1990s Tapio got seriously sick and couldn't play for several years. The energy left out was channeled into an extremely positive phenomenon as Tapio started to run the Tse-Tse Club in Helsinki that offered all kinds of interesting and high-quality music from free jazz to folk music and contemporary music. Tse-Tse Club, that worked in Semifinal, Saunabar and UMO Jazz House in 1998-2001, was a place for interesting undergroud music in the music life of Helsinki.

Tapio has also, alone and with Edward Vesala, composed lots of music for theatre plays, films and radio plays. In the 21st century Tapio has been able to play again and the collaboration with Norwegian percussionist Terje Isungset has continued: Tapio has performed in Norway several times and they have together formed a new version of Rolling Thunder. Tapio has had also a trio that was born after a workshop with bassist Tero Siitonen and percussionist Janne Tuomi. Later Sampo Lassila replaced Siitonen in bass and the group got the name Kaski. As a sideman Tapio has played for example in Samuli Mikkonen's 7 henkeä -group, also on the album of the band.