Liberty Ship, formed in 2012, navigates the deep waters of free jazz and improvised music in constant pursuit of liberated self-expression. Acclaimed saxophonist and composer Esa Pietilä leads this all-star quartet of accomplished Finnish jazz musicians, pushing each musician to the boundaries of their creative ability.
Liberty Ship is without a doubt one of the most exciting and adventurous projects to emerge from the booming Finnish jazz scene. Liberty Ship glides gracefully out of the mist on gently rolling waves, combining the adventurous spirit and improvisation of free jazz to influences from contemporary art music outside of jazz and a Nordic cool sensibility. Their music is adventurous, mysterious, creative and unpredictable as the sea, but the crew of Liberty Ship always stays together as a cohesive unit with a single course and a unified vision, the prow firmly pointed toward the edge of the map to uncharted waters.
In addition to Pietilä, Liberty Ship consists of pianist Aki Rissanen, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Olavi Louhivuori. Visionary composer and improviser Esa Pietilä (b.1964) is the captain of Liberty Ship. His original style is firmly rooted in the avant-garde and free jazz traditions. From solo saxophone to small combos to large orchestras, Pietilä has a long and varied history of composing for and performing with many of the top names in modern European creative jazz.
Pianist Aki Rissanen (b.1980) has built a reputation as one of the most forward-thinking and creative pianists of his generation in Finland. Rissanen has worked with some of the top names like Barry Guy and Mats Gustafsson in modern creative jazz. Rissanen combines a classical training with a love of improvisation and contemporary jazz. In Liberty Ship his distinctive style lives up to its full potential.
Antti Lötjönen (b.1980) has established himself as one of the cornerstones and most in-demand bass players of Helsinki’s burgeoning 21st century jazz scene. Playing in key groups like Sun Trio and Verneri Pohjola Quartet and with countless major figures in the contemporary Finnish jazz scene like Alexi Tuomarila and Kalevi Louhivuori has made Lötjönen a recognized figure both in Finland and internationally.
Drummer Olavi Louhivuori (b.1981) has brought his creativity to a number of high-profile projects all around Europe. He has played and recorded with internationally acclaimed artists like Polish Tomasz Stańko, Italian Claudio Filippini, British Dave Stapleton and Norwegian Mats Eilertsen.
The groups first self-titled recording Liberty Ship was released in 2013 on Eclipse Music and was chosen among the best jazz album of the year by New York Jazz Record. The album showcases the remarkable quartets collective vision and the supplementary improvised material is strong evidence that there is true chemistry between the musicians. Pietilä’s vision of melodic free jazz elevates his younger companions to new creative heights.