Trust is won over time

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For the remainder of the year, Jazz Finland International follows the bands and delegates aiming to the international markets. This time we asked Aki Rissanen about his thoughts of jazz fairs and how he sees their value in his own work.

Pianist Aki Rissanen is one of the most internationally successful Finnish jazz musicians. Rissanen drew attention already in 2016 with Aki Rissanen Trio’s debut album Amorandom, which was critically acclaimed around the world and rewarded for the Best Jazz Album 2016 at the Finnish Emma Award gala. 

Their second album Another North, released in November 2017 on British Edition Records, raised the trio undeniably into the front of the whole European jazz field. This fall Rissanen performs at several concerts abroad; in November his trio heads to France for six-concert tour organized by Charles Gil.

Aki Rissanen is not a novice at Jazzahead. He has taken part in the fair numbers of times and in 2017 Aki Rissanen Trio was part of the Finnish Night showcase event. Rissanen says he sees the Jazzahead as a significant meeting place for jazz network. For example, he has got actual benefit from the Jazzahead by confirming contracts for concerts. However, he reminds that most of the deals are made after many years from the first meeting with the promoter.

“The job requires perseverance and adopting a right mental attitude. The most important reason to attend the Jazzahead is to meet new contacts but first and foremost to strengthen the earlier established relations. Little by little, it is possible to achieve the trust between the both parties”, Rissanen hints.

Taking part in the Jazzahead happens completely on showcase artists own account without compensation from Jazzahead. Rissanen considers the fair as an explicit concept and does not see this as a problem. The events such as Jazzahead often offer valuable contacts in the long run.

Arctic Paradise World & Jazz Event 2016 in Finland brought me contacts, which have become concrete this fall”, Rissanen says but then adds, “Another, in many ways better way to meet operators, is outside the fairs at the festivals and their side-events. But first you have to get there!” 

In the coming years, Rissanen plans to concentrate on contacting concert bookers at the fairs, since the agent familiar with the destination is essential for the work. “I have worked with manager Pia Raitala around three years and she has been a great help in foreign concert sale.”

Rissanen is conscious of the realities of the field and sees that their future challenge is managing to make the work more profitable. He wishes to gain even more reputation as an artist and get to perform on bigger arenas. But for the most part, his dreams are related to music: “I want to develop my music and the expression of the band to more individual style and improve our ensemble performance to even more communicative than before. I am still looking for ways to stand out and sell my music, especially in Europe.”

Aki Rissanen performs on two gigs in Finland this fall: on 26 October at Lux Gratiae event in Naantali and with the trio at the We Jazz festival in Helsinki in December.

Concerts in Europe:

October 31, 2018  Philly Joe’s, Tallinn, Estonia
November 9, 2018  Avignon, AJMI, France
November 10, 2018  Le Moulin à Jazz, Vitrolles, France
November 11, 2018  Institut Beliashe, Aurillac, France
November 13, 2018  Le Périscope, Lyon, France
November 14, 2018  Institut Finlandais, Paris, France
November 16, 2018  Jazzdor Festival, Strasbourg, France
November 29, 2018  Trio Bimhuis, Amsterdam, Netherlands
November 30, 2018  Trio LantarenVenster, Rotterdam, Netherlands
December 1, 2018  Trio Bayreuth Jazz Forum, Bayreuth, Germany
December 2, 2018  Trio 30CC, Leuven, Belgium

Photo: Dave Stapleton

Is your band heading to tour abroad, or do you have and artist who is involved in international collaboration? Please let us know, we would happily write an article about it. Send an email to: press@jazzfinland.fi