Pekka Toivanen

saxophonist/ composer/ conductor



Pekka Toivanen (b. 1961) has played the saxophone and the clarinet stylishly and consistently already for over a quarter century and mostly sticking with the classic jazz material. Toivanen gained experience from the field in Kulttis Big Band and Brushane Big Band, and later he was one of the first students in the history to start the studies at the jazz department of Sibelius Academy in 1983. His own quartet was formed in the mid-1980s that won the band competition of the Finnish Jazz Federation in 1987 and did a tour organized by the federation the next year. This stylish band was famous among the jazz audience and so they performed a lot at jazz festivals and clubs in the 1980s and released the debut album Stick Around (Kompass Records) in 1988.

Toivanen played in Espoo Big Band and UMO Jazz Orchestra in the beginning of the 1990s and toured around Finland with his quartet and the singer Saara Soisalo in 1992. On his second own album She Didn't Like the Wallpaper (Love/Johanna 1994) the famous Trio Töykeät played with him and the compositions of the saxophonist were a bit more spicier than before.

As a sideman Pekka Toivanen has played for a long time in i.a. Oiling Boiling, guitarist Tuomo Autio's Zekosto and Dream Team, the group of the veteran of Finnish jazz, Erik Lindström. One important and long-lasting partner for Toivanen has been bassist Wade Mikkola who has used Toivanen as the saxophonist on his gigs and albums. Toivanen has also continued working with big bands after his career in UMO, for example as a conductor for the regional orchestras and by composing a clarinet concerto for Espoo Big Band.