Fuelled by his twelve-year long background studying classical piano, Aki Rissanen usually takes jazz closer to the concert hall than the smoky club. The surface tension of his improvisations and the intense lyrical beauty of his compositions seem so inherent that it is easy to see him in the same lineage with similar piano masters Keith Jarrett and Brad Mehldau.
Besides honing his chops on the Finnish jazz scene both as a bandleader and as a sideman, Rissanen has collaborated arduously with continental talent ranging from Belgian saxophonist Robin Verheyen to Danish drummer Stefan Pasborg etc. One of the most travelled Finnish jazz musicians of his generation, the 37-year old pianist has studied and lived in Köln, New York and Paris.
In retrospect it becomes evident that the seeds of a very important development were sown in 2011 as trumpeter Verneri Pohjola invited Rissanen to join his new quartet. With the resulting album, Ancient History, Rissanen took a big leap forward in his expression. When drummer Teppo Mäkynen and bassist Antti Lötjönen soon afterwards joined them, a truly great team was born.
As witnessed both on Pohjola’s Bullhorn (2015) and Aki Rissanen Trio’s Amorandom (2016), the musicians breathe together in a magic way. And with Another North, they push the envelope of band ESP even further. Ten years after his exquisite solo debut album La Lumière noire, Rissanen continues to blaze the trail of Nordic piano art.
AKI RISSANEN TRIO: Another North
Aki Rissanen, piano
Antti Lötjönen, bass
Teppo Mäkynen, drums
Edition Records EDN1101/ EDNLP1101