Kari Ikonen Trio's debut album Bright (Ozella 2013) has gained a lot of international success, making the band busy playing in clubs and festivals all over Europe and in the USA. German JAZZTHETIK and American Something Else Reviews chose Bright on their lists of the best jazz albums of 2013. The follow-up, Beauteous Tales and Offbeat Stories was released by the same label in April 2015 and was immediately picked as the "jazz album of the week" at NDR and one of the hot new releases at The Europe Jazz Media Chart. British marlbank.net ranked Kari Ikonen Trio as one of the five "state of the art trios" of 2015.
Pianist Kari Ikonen, drummer Markku Ounaskari and Armenian bass player Ara Yaralyan put together a bunch of artful original compositions, a few Armenian folk songs, a Bollywood hit, and some freshly improvised creations. The subtle balance between the compositions and individual freedom, the joyful interaction between the three musicians, the intense rhythmic flow and the enormous energy are the main factors of this impressive unity, where the classic piano trio sound is given a new dimension by Yaralyan's exceptional bowing skills.
Ikonen has won multiple international awards for his compositions, and in 2013 he received the Yrjö Award as the Finnish Jazz Musician of the Year. Ounaskari got the same award in 2014 - so this group is definitely on the very top of the Finnish jazz scene.
Kari Ikonen Trio grabbed the moment with an assured and highly imaginative display of contemporary piano trio aesthetics. - Jon Newey, Jazzwise (UK)
ed. Annamari Innanen 26.5.15