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Matti Riikonen

trumpet player

Kuva/Photo: Antero Helasvuo



Matti Riikonen (b. 1953) is a trumpeter who has played with many key Finnish jazz ensembles. Riikonen is particularly known for his collaborations with leading musicians in the realm of modern jazz, and especially for his long-term membership in Edward Vesala’s Sound & Fury ensemble.

Riikonen studied the trumpet at the Sibelius Academy in the 1970s, and has also studied privately with Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko. The Tapiola Big Band, which was established during his school years, offered Riikonen the opportunity to play jazz with a big band beginning in 1969.

Riikonen started participating in events featuring improvised music in Helsinki in the late 1970s and early 1980s, often performing with saxophonist Tapio “Tuuppi” Tuominen in various different ensembles, such as the group Systems (including Ulf Krokfors, Esko Rosnell and, during one tour in Finland, the South-African drummer Louis Moholo). In addition, Riikonen played with the Make Lievonen Quartet, in the Helsinki Kollektiivi (with Raoul Björkenheim, Toni Edelmann and Ari Valtonen) and the IMU Workshop (with Pekka Pöyry, Seppo “Baron” Paakkunainen, Pepa Päivinen, Mike Koskinen, Mircea Stan, Jukka Hauru, Teppo Hauta-aho, Tapani Tamminen and Jukka-Pekka Wasama).

Riikonen also participated in workshops organized by Edward Vesala and became a regular member of Vesala’s Sound & Fury ensemble from 1987 until Vesala’s passing in 1999, participating in its acclaimed albums released on ECM Records, such as Ode to the Death of Jazz (1990), Invisible Storm (1992) and Nordic Gallery (1994), as well as several extensive tours in Finland, Europe and the Far East. During the same time, Riikonen was performing in composer-bassist Antti Hytti’s and saxophonist Jone Takamäki’s Suhkan Uhka ensemble, performing with the group at the Tampere Jazz Happening in the year 2000, and in saxophonist Jorma Tapio’s Hugry Tribal Marching Band, which recorded the hypnotic album Hullu Puutarhuri (1992) and music for the film Hotelli Voodoo with Tuomari Nurmio in 1997.

Since the beginning of the 2000s, Riikonen has been a member of Heikki “Hepa” Halme’s ensemble Halme Prospekt, occasionally performing with the group at clubs and festivals. The group has recorded three albums, Prospektor (2008), Prospektrum (2013) and Pajazzo (2015). During the years 2010-2015, Riikonen participated in the New Sound & Fury ensemble, which performed Edward Vesala’s compositions in concerts and on the record Pulsacion (2013).