Pianist Aki Rissanen has been quickly rising among the few top forces of Finnish jazz and also made a name for himself in the international jazz scene, both as a leader and as a sideman. Although originally classically trained for 12 years, he has always had a heart for improvised music and jazz.
His trio’s latest, critically acclaimed album Amorandom on British Edition Records, with Antti Lötjönen on bass and Teppo Mäkynen on drums, was described as 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. Amorandom won the Finnish Grammy, the Emma Award for the Best Jazz Album of the Year 2016. Their second album is to be released in November 2017.
Besides his trio, he leads a quartet entitled Sininen Syksy (Blue Autumn) featuring classical soprano Mari Palo, guitarist Teemu Viinikainen and drummer Joonas Riippa which performs music of the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja. He co-leads the trio entitled Aleatoric with Robin Verheyen (sax) and Markku Ounaskari (drums) and the quartet featuring the sax legend Dave Liebman. Other active groups include Verneri Pohjola-Aki Rissanen Duo, Verneri Pohjola Quartet and Lauri Porra Flyover among others.
Aki Rissanen received the prestigious second prize in Solo Piano Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival in 2004. In addition, he won the Finnish finals in The Young Nordic Jazz Comets competition in 2003 and 2005. La Defense Festival in Paris awarded him prizes for the Best Solo and Best Repertoire in 2006.
“Aki Rissanen is the one to watch – and it’s only now that the pianist’s own distinct identity is emerging. Rissanen is a musical storyteller, a jazz musician with something to say.”Stuart Nicholson, Jazzwise Magazine, UK