Samuli Mikkonenpianist/ composer
Jazz pianist and composer Samuli Mikkonen (b. 1973) is an emerging name in the European jazz scene. Improvising on the piano since the age of 3, Mikkonen has expanded his sound palette by taking extensive studies of both jazz music and classical composition at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki, from where he has graduated with a MA.
His latest project, Kuára, is an all-acoustic trio with drummer Markku Ounaskari and trumpet player Per Jorgensen, and their debut album on ECM Records, produced by Manfred Eicher, was released in November 2010. In 2012, another Norwegian, saxophonist Trygve Seim, has substituted Jorgensen in most of their concerts. They are currently working on a new album with Seim.
Mikkonen first appeared in the top-notch jazz bands of his home country Finland in the mid-90's, and has since then worked home and abroad, with a growing list of collaborators and different projects. Mikkonen has led a Scandinavian trio consisting of him, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Audun Kleive. He has played sideman gigs for Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, Mike Gibbs and Wayne Krantz. In Finland, he has been the pianist of choice for world jazz outfit Piirpauke and jazz/improvising artists Sonny Heinilä, Sakari Kukko, Mika Mylläri, Pekka Pylkkänen, Jouni Järvelä and Jorma Tapio. He also appears on the album Daraludul Yow of the Senegalese singer Julia Sarr, one of the most interesting musicians in the Paris world music scene. Samuli Mikkonen has released 5 albums of his own, and played on over 20 of other musicians.
Besides most European countries, Mikkonen has toured in Argentina, Chile, Peru, China, South Korea, Japan and USA. Performance venues include premier European clubs such as Copenhagen Jazz House and festivals home and overseas: Jarasum Jazz Festival, Beijing Jazz Festival, Umeå Jazz Festival, Bergen Nattjazz, IAJE and others. His concerts have been broadcast by BBC, YLE, Sveriges Radio, Eesti Raadio and Danmarks Radio.
As a composer, Samuli Mikkonen has written for his own hand-picked ensemble '7 Henkea', as well as jazz ensembles ranging from duos and trios to a big band. Commissioned pieces include five pieces for big band, works for small jazz/classical hybrid ensembles and music for theatre and TV.
ed. Annamari Innanen 20.2.15