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André Sumelius

drummer/ composer/ producer

Kuva/ Photo: Maarit Kytöharju

André Sumelius (b. 1977) arrived to the Finnish jazz scene through totally different paths than his collegues. Sumelius moved to California, U.S. in 1988 where he took private lessons in drums in 1990's from one of the biggest drum legends in the world, Tony Williams. Performance experience of this young drummer grew quickly as he toured on the Western coast with i.a. bassist Kyle Eastwood and blower-bandleader Don Menza. Sumelius returned to Finland in 1997 and soon he was a familiar face both in Finnish bands and in American groups that the drummer had invited here to play.

In the beginning of 21st century Sumelius formed his own band called Lift, and on their first radiotape played besides Sumelius trumpetist Tero Saarti, saxophone player Sonny Heinilä, vibrist Severi Pyysalo and bassist Uffe Krokfors. In January 2001 this quintet did a tour in Finland organized by the Jazz Federation and in 2002 Lift released it's debut albumKaira (Abovoice 2002) which sadly came to be the only release from the group. Kaira got a Jazz-Emma Award in 2002 and the band did a Vapaat äänet tour with the French bassoon player Yves Robert in spring 2004.

Besides Lift, André Sumelius led a septet called Tabac, which played more straight-forward groovejazz. Sumelius also hosted jazz jam sessions in the Helsinki metropolitan area and played as a member in e.g. guitarist Jani Malmi's group Pataljoona. In fall 2004 Sumelius moved back to California where he worked as a professional musician and organized tours for Finnish jazz bands and artists. Today this drummer operates again from Finland and has assembled different interesting quartets and quintets for his gigs, including e.g. saxophonist Mikko Innanen and pianist Aki Rissanen.