Jukka Eskola (b. 1978) became a familiar face to the general public as a member of The Five Corners Quintet when the group was founded in 2003. However, the trumpeter had already played on a professional level with several groups before the renowned quintet’s breakthrough. Eskola started his trumpet lessons at the Conservatory of Kuopio at the age of 9 and continued his music studies in Helsinki, first at the Pop & Jazz Conservatory and later at the jazz department of the Sibelius Academy. During this time, Eskola’s trumpet could be encountered in the Helsinki metropolitan jazz scene in such groups as Uncle Bop and Niko Ahvonen's and Sami Saari's soul bands, while he worked also as a freelance musician in a number of musicals and Latin music groups.

The first own release for Eskola was the single The Waves (Rytmi-cd 2001), recorded with the help of the Nokia Young Talent grant. During the first decade of the 21st century, Eskola had an important role as a soloist in Nuspirit Helsinki and The Five Corners Quintet, equally in studio and on stage. Also, the UMO Young Soloists concert in November 2004 offered a showcase of the trumpeter’s soloistic skills. The multi-talent Jimi Tenor’s trust in Eskola shows in the latter’s involvement in several of the former’s bands since the early 2000s.

A common thread in Eskola’s repertoire seems to be modern club jazz, and the debut album, Jukka Eskola (Free Agent Records 2005) seems to follow this path as well. Co-written with and produced by the drummer Teppo Mäkynen, the album is a delicious project where the 1970s groove jazz shakes hands with hot beat jazz, resulting in a cool, clubby sound. With his own quintet, originally formed for the debut album, Eskola has been gigging actively, for example on a Jazz Federation tour in 2006 and in the showcase of Finnish jazz at Midem in January 2007.

The trumpeter’s fame in Japan soared after the tours of The Five Corners Quintet and Jukka Eskola Quintet, with the result that a local record company expressed their interest in releasing a radio tape first recorded for YLE, the Finnish National Broadcasting Company, in 2004. Consequently, Eskola’s second album, Hub Up, came out in 2006 on the Japanese record label, Stride. In addition to his own releases, Eskola features as a sideman on more than a hundred Finnish recordings.

In 2006 Eskola was awarded the Sony Jazz Award prize, and in 2007 he was chosen as the Pori Jazz Artist of the Year. He was also chosen as the Trumpeter of the Year by the critic poll of the Finnish jazz magazine, Jazzrytmit, in both 2005 and 2006. In recent years, Eskola has been playing as a member in Ricky-Tick Big Band, to mention one, while being busy as a leader of his own bossa nova project, Jukka Eskola Orquesta Bossa. The collective’s debut came out in 2013.

ed. Annamari Innanen 30.1.2014