jazzahead! 2017

27.04.2017 – 30.04.2017

Jazzahead, held annually in Bremen, Germany is considered the most important international gathering of jazz music professionals and concert goers. Finland is the partner country for jazzahead 2017. Eight Finnish artists will perform at the official showcase. Jazzahead consists of a high-level showcase festival and a trade fair, and since 2006 when the first jazzahead! took place, the event has grown constantly.

Meet Partner Country Finland
Showcase artists
Aus Finnland Food Garden
Kultur aus Finnland

Meet Partner Country Finland at stand 6B40

The partner country status will mean wide attention for Finnish jazz in Jazzahead program, including the Finnish Night on 27 April, the Gala Concert on 28 April as well as the Club Night, spreading all over the city of Bremen on 29 April. The opening showcase night will present eight Finnish bands at the stages in Hall 7 and Kulturzentrum Schlachthof. At the fair, a partner country lounge as well as the Finnish umbrella stand will be the place to get in contact with the jazz scene, festivals and other culture field players of Finland. Read more about the Finnish delegation: Jazz aus Finnland – Programme and Delegation.

The umbrella stand 6B40 is the home of the Finnish delegation and the showcase bands of the Finnish Night. Coordinated and hosted by Music Finland, you will find the stand right next to the Partner Country Lounge.

Need to sit down and rest your legs? Navigate through the whirl of the trade fair all the way to Jazz aus Finnland Lounge. The Lounge, powered by Visit Finland, welcomes everyone with informal meeting spaces and comfortable sofas.


Thursday April 27

15:00–20:00 Jazzahead Trade Fair open
17:00 Jazzahead Official Opening
18:30 Jazz Aus Finnland Opening Reception at Aus Finnland Food Garden

Finnish Night showcases:

19:30: Kari Ikonen Trio at Hall 7.1
20:10: Gourmet at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
20:50: VIRTA at Hall 7.2
21:30: Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
22:10: Verneri Pohjola Group at Hall 7.1
22:50: Tenors of Kalma at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof
23:30: Aki Rissanen Trio at Hall 7.2
00:10: Dalindèo at Kulturzentrum Schlachthof

00:30 Helsinki x Berlin After Party at Magazinkeller
19:30–01:00 Food Garden

Friday April 28

10:00–20:00 Jazzahead Trade Fair open
20:00 Gala Concert: Iiro Rantala and Die Deutsche Kammerphilharmonie Bremen at Die Glocke
00:30 Tampere Late Night Jam Session at Magazinkeller
14:00–01:00 Food Garden

Saturday April 29

10:00–20:00 Jazzahead Trade Fair open
12:30–13:30 Meet the Finnish Festivals @ Partner Country Lounge


17:00–18:00 Verneri Pohjola at Karton
18:30–19:30 Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy at Karton
19:45–20:30 Tuija Komi Jazzahead! Trio at Rebels Club
20:00–21:00 Tuuletar at Weserburg Museum für moderne Kunst
20:00–21:30 Dalindèo at Karton
21:00–22:30 VIRTA at Papp
21:00–23:00 Helsinki-Cotonou Ensemble at Club Moments
21:30–22:15 Tuija Komi Jazzahead! Trio at Rebels Club
21:30–22:30 Linear John at Schwankhalle
22:30–03:00 Cool Suomi Tunes at Papp
23:00–00:00 Tenors of Kalma at Schwankhalle

14:00–01:00 Food Garden

Sunday April 30

10:00–12:00 Jazzahead Trade Fair open
11:00 Farewell Party with the Finns @ Partner Country Lounge

Showcase artists

Aki Rissanen Trio

Over the last years, pianist Aki Rissanen has made a name for himself in the international jazz world both as a leader and as a sideman. His trio‘s recent, critically acclaimed album 'Amorandom' on British Edition Records, with Antti Lötjönen on bass and Teppo Mäkynen on drums, is his most authoritative work to date. Influenced by electronic minimal music and Nordic lyricism, it demonstrates the group‘s high energy and outstandingly proficient playing. The album won the Finnish Grammy for the best jazz album of the year in 2016.



Dalindèo is a sextet founded in 2003 and led by composer and guitarist Valtteri Pöyhönen. The group’s unique sound consists of danceable rhythms, strong melodies and an emphasis on the craftsmanship of top musicians, with influences drawn from composer giants such as Henry Mancini, Lalo Schifrin and Duke Ellington. Dalindèo’s fourth album Slavic Souls blends contemporary jazz with traditional Finnish Tango music and northern schlager, taking a somewhat darker turn than their previous works.



Saxophone player Mikko Innanen is one of the most accomplished Finnish composers and musicians on the international jazz circuit. He is also the leader of Gourmet, a sextet formed in 1997 and featuring exuberant music by Innanen and Esa Onttonen (guitar). Besides the two, this unconventional ensemble features trombonist Ilmari Pohjola, accordionist Veli Kujala, drummer Mika Kallio and tubist Petri Keskitalo.


Kari Ikonen Trio

Kari Ikonen Trio’s two albums, released by German label Ozella, have gained a lot of international success, making the band busy playing in clubs and festivals all over Europe and in the USA. German JAZZTHETIK and American Something Else Reviews chose the trio’s debut album Bright on their lists of the best jazz albums of 2013. The follow-up, Beauteous Tales and Offbeat Stories from 2015 and was immediately picked as the "jazz album of the week" at NDR and one of the hot new releases at The Europe Jazz Media Chart. 


Raoul Björkenheim Ecstasy

Raoul Björkenheim formed Ecstasy in 2010, bringing two young talents, Pauli Lyytinen and Jori Huhtala, along with long-time accomplice Markku Ounaskari, into the spotlight in a repertory of original compositions painting swirling polyrhythms with a free-tonal palette. With influences ranging from Korean and African music to contemporary chamber music and free rock, Ecstasy's mission is to elevate its audiences with high energy and a dedication to adventurous sound. 


Tenors of Kalma

Tenors of Kalma is a trio formed by the utterly versatile Berlin-based guitarist and composer Kalle Kalima, genre-hopping multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor and drummer Joonas Riippa. Mixing jazz elements with electronica and their very own unique spices, They released their debut album Electric Willow in 2015 via ENJA Yellow Bird Records. 


Verneri Pohjola Group

Trumpeter and composer Verneri Pohjola has been in the international spotlight for the past few years, as his latest album Bullhorn (Edition Records) was released to critical acclaim in early 2015. With his new group Pohjola performs the compositions of his late father, legendary Pekka Pohjola. The versions will be released as an album in 2017 by Edition Records. 



VIRTA's brand of art combines textures of Nordic jazz, electronica and post-rock with avant-garde sensibilities. On their second album Hurmos their compositions have gravitated more and more towards electronic sounds. The trio and their quirky instrumentation have already raised international interest and have performed at, to mention a few, the 12-Points festival in Dublin, Match & Fuse Festival in Oslo and Pori Jazz in Finland.



Aus Finnland Food Garden

Celebrating the Finnish street food scene
Say ”kippis”, raise a glass of award-winning gin & tonic and grab a Finnish burger from the food truck. Then you’re ready to visit an authentic sauna wagon and dive into the feeling of mini Finland in Bremen!

Thu 27 April 19:30-01:00
Fri 28 April 14:00-01:00
Sat 29 April 14:00-01:00

Companies: Kyrö Distillery Company, The Alexanders, Social Food, Sauna Anhänger, Tornqvist Coffee
In cooperation: Music Finland, Visit Finland, Finland Festivals


Kultur aus Finnland

The country partnership of Finland is kicked off with Kultur aus Finnland, a two-week cultural festival taking place in the major cultural institutions of Bremen. Kultur aus Finnland dates are 15–30 April 2017. Produced by the Finnish Institute in Germany, the festival features visual arts, literature, contemporary dance as well as circus. Read more about the programme here.

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