Kuva/ Photo: Armi Suojanen
Pentti "Pena" Lahti (b. 1945) has worked on the music field extremely versatilely during his whole career. This was shown beautifully in Lahti's 60th Anniversary Concert in 2005 when Lahti brought different stars from the Finnish music field, from tango singer Markus Allan to pop singer Maarit Hurmerinta, Pepe Willberg and rock icon Ismo Alanko, to perform as UMO Jazz Orchestra's soloists. Lahti is a founding member of UMO, former lead-saxophonist of the saxophone section and one of the most important musicians in the history of the orchestra. Besides altosaxophone Lahti knows also several other wind instruments and a bunch of all kinds of imaginative flutes and whistles. Besides UMO, Lahti's versatility was heard in 1970s and 1980s in Wasama Quartet and guitarist Ilkka Niemeläinen's Instinct-band. In 1983 Lahti received the Georgie (Yrjö) Award of Finnish Jazz Federation.
Pentti Lahti's music philosophy has always included a strong appreciation for the role as a sideman. His long career in UMO got the ending it deserved in 2010 when the last founding member retired and UMO organized a fine farewell concert. One of the long-lasting musical partners for Lahti has been trombonist Mircea Stan and these two musicians, who nowadays perform once in a while as a duo, have a history that has its roots already in the groups of the 1970s. Later Lahti has also been a member of Jukka Linkola Octet, Eero Hämeenniemi's Nada and Pepa Päivinen's, Seppo Paakkunainen's and Janne Murto's Saxperiment saxophone quartet that is commonly seen as the light-up for the modern Finnish jazz.