Severi Pyysalovibist/ composer
Kuva/ Photo: Timo Jerkku
Severi Pyysalo (b. 1967) played his breakthrough gig in Pori Jazz in 1982. A few summers later he jammed on the main stage in the band of the singer legend Sarah Vaughan and released the same year his debut album. In fall 1987 Pyysalo started his jazzstudies at the Sibelius Academy and started to lead his own bands. Severi Pyysalo Quartet, No Hope Band and The Front were mainly consisted of the fellow students at the Sibelius Academy and the bands performed actively and did also a Finnish Jazz Federation's tour. In 1991 The Front was chosen as the Best Group at the Jazz Meeting of the Nordic Jazz Radios in Copenhagen and the next year Pyysalo joined Jukka Perko Quartet. Later also Perko-Pyysalo Poppoo was born, one of the most famous jazzbands in Finland in the 1990s.
In the 1990s Pyysalo had time, besides Poppoo, to make himself known on the Nordic jazzfield by cooperating with Swedish bass player Anders Jormin and Danish pianist Thomas Clausen. In 1995 Pyysalo debuted as a classic composer when the Helsinki Festival ordered a work for seven percussionists from him. The next year he composed also a work called "Devotion" for the Radio Symphony Orchestra and a percussionist. For UMO Jazz Orchestra Pyysalo has composed music since early-1990s and the collaboration with the orchestra, Pyysalo working both as a soloist, a composer and an arranger, has continued till today.
A great example of the open-mindedness and versatility of Pyysalo was the album New Moods - New Sounds (Blue Note 2001) with saxophonist-clarinetist Antti Sarpila. The album consisting of mainly Pyysalo's compositions wasn't traditional jazz than personal modern rhythm music where the best features of the main soloists were clearly visible. Pyysalo had also an important role in the chamber jazz group Turgan Trio of bassist Tuure Koski and on the album Kuunnelmia (Blue Note 2004) recorded with Jukka Perko and Teemu Viinikainen.
In the 21st century Pyysalo has played a lot in the projects of guitarist Niklas Winter. He has also featured Otra Vez!, the group combining jazz and Argentinian tango. On the gigs and on the album Chasin' the Jazz Gone by (2005) by The Five Corners Quintet Pyysalo reached also the awareness of the younger clubjazz audience.