Pekka Sarmanto




Pekka Sarmanto (b. 1945) started his violin studies at the Sibelius Academy in 1958, but familiarized himself soon with jazzvirtuosos such as Charles Mingus and Scott LaFrao and so the violin was replaced by the double bass. First Sarmanto played in danceorchestras but was soon interested in jazz music, thanks to the open-minded bandleaders like Eero Koivistoinen and Esa Pethman. Also the cooperation with his brother Heikki started in the late-1960s. In 1967 Sarmanto played already in the houseband of the legendary Down Beat Club in Helsinki with jazzicons like Ben Webster and Dexter Gordon.

Pekka Sarmanto is one of the founding members of the UMO Jazz Orchestra that was formed in 1975. During his long career in UMO he has got the chance to play with all the foreign top jazzmusicians that have performed in Finland. Sarmanto retired from UMO in 2007 but he still keeps performing actively with different groups, for example with his own trio.

Not many bass players can say that they have substituted Charles Mingus in Belgrad or that they have jammed with Gil Evans, Dizzy Gillepie and Sonny Rollins. Sarmanto's career has taken him to the biggest jazzarenas in London, Paris and Montreal. In Finland he has been chosen by several medias as the best jazz bassist already 28 years in a row. In 1978 he was awarded with the Georgie (Yrjö) Prize by the Finnish Jazz Federation and four years later he got the honour to record on the album To A Finland Station (Pablo 1982) by Gillespie and Arturo Sandoval that Sarmanto himself sees as the most successful album he has ever recorded. During the last 40 years Sarmanto has performed with all the top musicians in Finland, including all the Finnish jazzlegends.