Kuva/ Photo: ACT / Jörg Grosse-Geldermann
Verneri Pohjola (b. 1977) was already 15-years-old we he first time grabbed the trumpet and 17 when he first got interested in jazz music so he has thus come a short way compared to many of his fellow musicians. This road has however showed the versatility and talent of Pohjola and he has definitely proved to be one of the most distinguished jazz musicians in Europe these days.
After high school Pohjola started his trumpet studies at Pop & Jazz Conservatory and spent a year getting more familiar with jazz music in Örebro musicschool in Sweden. In 1999 Pohjola was accepted to the jazz department of Sibelius Academy where he soon found his own way to study and play jazz music.
Pohjola says that he has been lucky to always find friends with whom he can play in his own way. A few of those friends are pianist Tuomo Prättälä, drummer Olavi Louhivuori and bassist Antti Lötjönen with whom Pohjola formed Ilmiliekki Quartet in 2002. The concept of the band was soon proved to be working as they won the Finnish event of the Young nordic Jazz Comets competition in Helsinki in summer 2002. Ilmiliekki Quartet toured in Finland in January 2003 and recorded their debut album March of the Alpha Males (TUM) in summer 2003.
Already before the release of the debut album Finland Festivals chose the group as the Young Artist of the Year in 2004. The album got lots of great feedback, was a nominee for the Jazz-Emma Prize and won the Teosto Prize in fall 2004. In the same year Pohjola was also chosen as the Pori Jazz Artist of the Year. The second album, Take it With Me (TUM), of Ilmiliekki Quartet was released in 2006 and in 2009 the group recorded an album Vi sålde våra Hemman, consisting of traditional Swedish folksongs, with singer Emma Salokoski.
Though Pohjola came to the field of jazz relatively late, he has had time to play in several different groups. Besides Ilmiliekki Quartet, one of the most long-living bands for Pohjola was the nu-soul group Quintessence that Pohjola joined in 2002. Antti Hytti's Suhkan Uhka and Pohjola's father's Pekka Pohjola's groups have been important for the trumpetist as well. In addition, Pohjola's trumpet has an important role on the album One Note Stories (2005) by Warp!.
Lately Pohjola has been touring a lot with his own quartet and doing actively co-operation with the drummer of the quartet, Joonas Riippa. In 2009 Texicalli Records released Pohjola's debut soloalbum Aurora, that was chosen as the Jazzalbum of the Year by Jazzrytmit magazine and that also won the Jazz-Emma Prize in the same year. In 2012 Verneri Pohjola Quartet released their second album Ancient History that got an extremely warm welcome from both the audience and the critics. In the same year Pohjola composed a 2-minute night curfew for the Espoo Centre, that was played from the tower of Espoo market square every night through the summer.