Skip to content

Aki Rissanen // Jussi Lehtonen Quartet with Dave Liebman

Aki Rissanen // Jussi Lehtonen Quartet with Dave Liebman

Kuva/Photo: Ville Hyvönen/Kai Sinervo/Aki Rissanen

Acclaimed Finnish musicians, hotly-tipped pianist Aki Rissanen and drummer virtuoso Jussi Lehtonen invite legendary saxophonist Dave Liebman as a special guest on a new quartet album release on Ozella Music in summer 2014.

The entire album was recorded in live two day session at the Finnish Broadcasting Company in Helsinki, Finland in April 2013. The quartet recorded music by Rissanen with echoes from Finnish folk music and ‘Pont Marie’, a composition by the pianist inspired by the Billy Strayhorn masterpiece ‘Chelsea Bridge’. They added originals by Liebman and Lehtonen and an interesting arrangement by Liebman of Clare Fischer classic ‘Pensativa’, as an homage to recently passed away composer (b. 1928- d. 2012).

The result was a perfect example of international co-operation with musicians with different backgrounds and musical heritages combining both the Nordic and American tradition in an innovative way.

Pianist Aki Rissanen (b. 1980) has been quickly rising among the few top forces of the instrument in Finnish Jazz. Although originally classically trained he has always had a heart for improvised music. In addition to his high merits in the Solo Piano Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland and La Defense competition in France, Rissanen is best known for his works with Verneri Pohjola on ACT Music in Germany. He has released 5 albums under his own name and gaining growing attention in the European jazz scene.

Drummer Jussi Lehtonen (b. 1977) has received critical acclaim both in his native Finland and for his career in Scandinavia. He has released three albums under his own name and was featured on two Blue Note albums with Finnish group ‘U-Street All Stars’. Lehtonen has worked extensively with Tim Hagans, Randy Brecker, Marc Bernstein and Jukkis Uotila to name a few.

Jori Huhtala (b.1984) is one of the most sought-after bass players in the Finnish jazz scene. At the moment he draws international attention by touring Europe with Scandinavian guitar wizard Raoul Björkenheim and releasing music on Italian CAM label with various groups.

Dave Liebman’s (b. 1946) career has spanned over four decades, beginning in the 1970s as the saxophone/flautist in both the Elvin Jones and Miles Davis Groups, continuing as a leader since. He has played on nearly three hundred recordings with over one hundred under his leadership or co-leadership. In jazz education he is a renowned lecturer and author. Liebman is the Founder and Artistic Director of the International Association of Schools of Jazz (IASJ) existing since 1989. Awards include the Jazz Educators Network Legends of Jazz (2013); National Endowment of the Arts Masters of Jazz (2011); the Order of Arts and Letters (France 2009); Jazz Journalist’s award for Soprano Saxophone (2007); Grammy nomination for Best Jazz Solo (1998); Honorary Doctorate from the Sibelius Academy (Finland-1997). He has consistently placed in the top three positions for Soprano Saxophone in the Downbeat Critic’s Poll since 1973, winning first place in both the Downbeat (2011) and Jazz Times Critic’s Poll (2011, 2012).