VERNERI POHJOLA trumpet, composer
The thirty six year-old trumpeter and composer from Helsinki, Finland has been in the international spotlight for the past few years, and is acknowledged as a jazz star in the making. Having released his two previous albums on the German ACT label to huge critical acclaim, including a five star review from The Guardian, he’s now set to fulfil his enormous creative potential.
Son of the virtuoso bass guitarist Pekka Pohjola, Verneri first came to prominence as leader of Ilmiliekki Quartet, a band that won numerous accolades including the prestigious Teosto Award for original composition. Pohjola soon emerged as a rising star on the Finnish scene, picking up the coveted gong for Musician of the Year at the 2004 Pori Jazz Festival.
As is the case with many great horn players, Pohjola has a distinctive tone, which has a deeply affecting purity and lyricism. His highly melodic improvising is matched by personal compositions marked by memorable and imaginative themes that steer clear of any hackneyed notion of ‘Nordic jazz.’A truly progressive artist with a firm grip on popular culture, Verneri Pohjola is ready to confirm that he is one of the most exciting and original artists of his generation.
Verneri Pohjola’s new album ‘Bullhorn’ featuring pianist Aki Rissanen, bassist Antti Lötjönen and drummer Teppo Mäkynen is released in early 2015.
Press quotes on Bullhorn:
“This album takes its place among the truly finest albums of recent times.”
“Bullhorn, released by the British label Edition Records, includes an hour’s worth of the best Pohjola thus far. He’s more confident, crystallized, focused and also somewhat more mature.”
“This album could be one of those top ten desert island releases from Finland.”
“Everything is subjective, but as the sounds of the Verneri Pohjola Quartet enveloped me, I got the feeling that this is the best jazz in the world.”
Aamulehti (concert review)
“This album makes you love itself.”
“This is a beautifully executed, and quietly surprise-packed set”
“The third album from leading Helsinki-based composer, bandleader and trumpet player Verneri Pohjola is the one that cements his move from longtime rising star to international jazz heavyweight.”
London Evening Standard
“While Pohjola’s 2011 album, Aurora, on the ACT label was a bit of a favourite of mine, this feels a lot more focussed and an even bigger step up in the jazz league.”
The Jazz Breakfast
“Pohjola has long had the qualities which form a complete kind of musicianship, but in Bullhorn the vision is clearer than ever before.”
“The whole remarkable venture combines memorable original themes with striking ensemble-writing for horns and strings, dramatic brass and percussion sounds, and a faintly disconsolate beauty that nonetheless avoids all the usual north-European, windswept-jazz cliches.”
The Guardian (UK) on “Aurora”
“Certainly he draws on Finnish folkloric elements, but in a very personal way, mixing it with other influences, and these pieces in their totality (‘Askisto’ and ‘Spirit of S’ are album highlights) produce a vision of an artist whose exposure on the ACT label should bring long overdue (and deserved) recognition outside his homeland.”
Jazzwise (UK) on “Aurora”
“A warm, tightly focussed album that is less epic in scope than its predecessor but one which is ultimately equally rewarding and which represents a valid artistic statement in its own right.”
The Jazz Mann (UK) on “Ancient History”