36th Vilnius Jazz Festival. 12-16 October, 2022
Vilnius Jazz'2006

Pepa Päivinen Quartet (Finland):

Pepa Päivinen - saxophones
Timo Kämäräinen - guitar
Ville Huolman - bass
Mikko Hassinen - drums

Saxophonist Perti Pepa Päivinen is one of the leading musicians on today’s Finnish jazz scene, a Nordic free jazz innovator and Georgia Award recipient.

Praised for rhapsodic eloquence and energy, this multiinstrumentalist is equally skilled on soprano, tenor and baritone saxophones, flute, clarinet and bass clarinet.

Pepa Päivinen came to jazz from progressive rock, and during first two decades of his professional career he was somewhat of a musical chameleon. Remaining in the background, he played in a variety of projects, which enabled him to accumulate a gigantic musical vocabulary he uses today. Widely known as a workaholic, the saxophonist was regularly appearing in a number of projects, including Anthony Braxton’s Braxtonia, the group of Juka Tolonen (Frank Zappa’s Finnish analogue), Jukkis Uotila Quintet, Palle Mikkelborg’s EBU Big Band in Denmark; he is a co-founder of saxophone quartet Saxperiment; since 1985 has played in UMO orchestra. In 1984 – 1999 he was a member of Edvard Vesala’s legendary free jazz orchestra Sound and Fury and is heard on its chrestomathic album Ode to the Death of Jazz (1989).

In 1997, encouraged by Edvard Vesala the saxophonist started his solo career. He formed Pepa Päivinen Trio, which regularly appearing in Finland and abroad earned recognition before long. His first project Umpsukkelis (1999) was voted the Finnish Album of the Year, and in 2002 Pepa Päivinen Trio was nominated the best jazz ensemble in Finland.

Pepa Päivinen Quartet was formed in 2004 when a talented guitarist Timo Kämäräinen got on Trio’s board. Split between jazz and rock, the guitarist and composer is admired for his elegance, virtuosity and flexibility as well as his original artistic philosophy, which is palpable in his solo album Unea.

Music became his second language in his early years. As a teen captivated by Kiss’ album he formed his first ensemble Tigers, in which he played keyboards. Later he gave his heart to The Beatles. He obtained his first guitar in 1988 and before long was playing rock’n’roll in Led Zeppelin or Jimi Hendrix style. His later influences include jazz and progressive rock, and musicians like Charlie Parker, Frank Zappa, John McLaughlin or Pat Metheny.

Timo Kämäräinen started composing while studying at the Sibelius Music Academy. After graduating, the guitarist and composer settled in Helsinki where collaborating with a number of Finnish groups he tried his hand in a variety of styles – from experimental rock to free jazz. The list of his colleagues includes Ismo Alanko Säätiö, Eeppi Ursin, Eero Koivistoinen Music Society and Timo Hirvonen among others.

At present, besides working with Pepa Päivinen the versatile musician focuses on playing in Beagon and his solo projects – last year saw the release of his solo album Unea. In addition, he works as a producer and arranger.

Bassist Ville Huolman belongs to a young generation of Finnish jazz grands. The bassist is known from his work with commended MP4. He also collaborates with UMO orchestra, Kannaste-Ojajärvi Quartet, Eero Koivistoinen ensemble, Jukka Perko, Severi Pyysalo and The Poppoo, Teemu Viinikainen, Mikko Innanen, Teppo Mäkynen, Antii Sarpila, etc.

Drummer Mikko Hassinen has played in Pepa Päivinen’s group since 1997. One of the leading Finnish drummers, equally at home with Big Bands and small ensembles, has collaborated with a number of various Finnish jazz groups and musicians from Seppo Paakkunainen, Eero Koivistoinen and UMO to Severi Pyysalo, Teemu Viinikainen, Kirmo Lintinen and two Finnish free jazz grands: Pepa Päivinen and Raul Bjorkenheim. With the latter’s group Triad the drummer appeared in Vilnius Jazz 2000. Mikko Hassinen also played alongside international jazz luminaries like Randy Weston, Anders Jormin, Rich Shemaria, David Liebman and Tomasz Stanko.

Mikko Hassinen has also made name as a composer and arranger for Big Bands, UMO jazz orchestra, chamber and jazz ensembles. In addition, the drummer and composer looks into electronic media and music programming; his electronic music project Damodara is documented in 3 albums.

© Jûratë Kuèinskaitë



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