Release: 16th September, 2022
Finland’s position on the European jazz scene may sometimes be overshadowed by its prolific neighbour Denmark, but rising star pianist Teemu Kekkonen’s debut album Here/There (September 16th) showcases just the sort of hidden gems are prime for discovering.
Fresh from his studies at the famed Conservatorium Van Amsterdam, he leads his piano trio through a set of original music drenched with charm, sensitivity and the style of melodic interplay which put Scandinavian Jazz on the map.
Compatriots Mikael Saastamoinen (bass) and Roope Kantonen (drums) provide not just the perfect foundation for these melodic adventures, but hint at yet another enduring trio outfit for the European scene..
Raised on his father’s record collection, the Finnish pianist spent his early years dipping between jazz stalwarts such as Chick Corea and Bill Evans and homegrown heroes like pianist/composer Iiro Rantala.
Grounded by thoughtful composition ‘Here/There’ takes the listener on a series of musical adventures; improvisatory journeys which rise from warm, familiar melodies and subtle lilting grooves and cacophonous trio passages complete with rhythmic interplay and ear-catching effects.
Whilst the music gives more than a passing nod to modern influences like Vijay Iyer, Brad Mehldau and The Bad Plus, Kekkonen’s openness to everything from Ravel to pop, gospel and traditional Finnish music provides a highly individual twist on the classic trio format, for an experience that is equally calming and exhilarating.
At just 30 years of age, his varied CV boasts two world-class conservatoires, music for films, extensive jazz festival touring and even a spot in rock group Gentle Savage. With Here/There, though, he seems to have assembled the outfit from which he can take his playing – and profile – to the next level.
Teemu Kekkonen | piano
Mikael Saastamoinen | bass
Roope Kantonen | drums
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