Monday, June 29, 2009

Jarmo Savolainen passed away

Jarmo Savolainen overleden ( Nederlands) Jarmo Savolainen passed away ( English)


Suomalaisista jazzmuusikoista (1961 - 2009)
Hans Koert

Last week I heard the sad news about the death of the Finnish piano player Jarmo Savolainen. He passed away on the 11th of June, 2009. He was one of the best Finnish jazz musicians and a sought after accompanist. He had celebrated his 48th birthday on the 24th of May.
I learned about the death of Jarmo on the day that the world mourned about the death of that other musician Michael Jacksonbreaking news – heads in the news papers – rumours - specials on all networks; the passing of Jarmo Savolainen compared to the death of MJ. – only noted by the Finnish news papers and Finnish networks YLE Suomi Radio: Jazzmuusikko Jarmo Savolainen kuoli sairauskohtaukseen Helsingissä 11. kesäkuuta. Hän oli 48-vuotias, syntynyt Iisalmessa 24. toukokuuta 1961. Savolainen oli yksi kansainvälisesti menestyneimmistä suomalaisista jazzmuusikoista.
Born in the centre of Finland ( Suomi) he learned to play the piano when he was a kid. He played classical piano, until he became fascinated by great keyboard players like Chick Corea and Keith Jarrett. His first album as a classic piano player was with the Kuopio Symphony Orchestra, but soon he decided to change the direction of his career and became a jazz piano player. Like so many jazz musician he studied at the Berklee College of Music in Boston (US) for two years, before he left the institute. He had played with musicians like Tom Harrell, Bob Berg and Wallace Roney; all three musicians active in modern jazz for years; Bob Berg passed away December 2002.
Love to share with you a live film fragment from the start of his career ( 1979 ) with a Finnish vocalist and guitar player Liisa Tavi, who once sung at the European Song Contest for Finland and developed into a skilled bossa nova vocalist in the 1990s with a group featuring Pekka Tegelman, guitar; Jarmo Savolainen, keys; Raimo Salmiheimo, bass and Seppo Rauteva, drums. Although Jarmo is rather invisible on this pop tune you can hear him playing the keyboards.

In the late 1980s he recorded several albums in Boston, but also in New York ( Nonet – Blue Dreams – First Sight and in 1995 True Image). The rhythm section of the two latter are with Ron McClure on bass and Billy Hart on drums.

A few weeks ago I found at a sale in de Drvkkery in Middelburg, one of the best assorted book / record shops in the south west part of The Netherlands, the album True Image ( A-Records AL 73031). On the album three guests: Tim Hagans, trumpet player, David Liebman soprano sax and Karl Heinilä, a Finnish reed player on the tenor. This album contains eight Jarmo Savolainen compositions, like the title song True Image, Down The line, Inky-Pinky and Inseparable. Jarmo’s compositions are wide ranging and they offer the player a wonderful balance between loose and structured improvisational settings, Liebman writes in the liner notes. On the album two line ups. The first half contains a quintet with Tim Hagans and Karl Heinillä as guest players and the second part contains a quartet with David Liebman. This album was recorded in March 1994 in the year that Jarmo received the Georgie Award by the Finnish Jazz Federation.

Jarmo Savolainen Trio with Alberto Luccas and Markku Ounaskari

In the late 1990s he often played with Scandinavian musicians like Kari Heinila, Anders Jormin and Markku Ounaskari. In our country Jarmo performed with the "other Jarmo", Jarmo Hoogendijk, thanks to his mother of Finnish blood too, which I heard in concert on trumpet in the Porgy en Bess Jazz Club in Terneuzen with Herb Geller and John Ruocco and the Rein De Graaff Trio, October 2002. Jarmo Savolainen belonged to the most important jazz musicians of Finland and was a sought after accompanist, not only for jazz sessions, but also as a classic piano soloist with orchestras like the Finnish National Opera or the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, or the Avanti Chamber Orchestra. He was member for years of the band of Pekka Pohojola, the UMO Jazz Orchestra and the Espoo Big Band.

Love to share with you a solo piano piece, titled Asperine Song, like the second fragment of this blog, recorded in Sao Paulo ( Brasil) a year ago, which shows why I’m fascinated by this great, almost unknown jazz piano player and composer.

A great piano player !

Hans Koert

Hans Koert

JARMO SAVOLAINEN NONET: Finnish Jazz ( 1 track) ( 1984)
Nonet ( 1985)
Blue Dreams ( 1987)
JARMO SAVOLAINEN: Songs For Solo Piano ( 1989-1990)

JUKA LINKOLA : Sketches From Karelia ( 1992)
ESPOO BIG BAND: EBB plays Carla Bley ( 1993)
JUKA LINKOLA: The Tentet ( 1994)

ZONE : First Definition ( 1994)
JARMO SAVOLAINEN TRIO : John’s Son ( 1994-1996)
THE CASE : Codes ( 1996)
UMO JAZZ ORCHESTRA : The Electrifying Miles ( 1997)
NEN QUINTET: Another Story (1997)

JUKKIS UOTILA: Hunters and Gatherers ( 1997)
KLAUS SUONSAARI – Something in Common ( 1998) ( 2 tracks)
UMO JAZZ ORCHESTRA: Day Dreamin’ – The music of Billy Strayhorn (1998)
UMO JAZZ ORCHESTRA: Transit People (2000)
SUHKAN UHKA – Suhka (2002)
JARMO SAVOLAINEN TRIO: Songs For Trio ( 2006)
JULIAN F. THAYER: Zaku ( 2007)

Oscar Aleman Choro Music Flexible Records Hit of the Week-Durium Keep Swinging News letter Keep Swinging Contributions



Blogger Jo said...

Thanks for this portrait of a great piano player in the modern style. His name may be unknown to most people, but his artistic skills definitly were great. Another unsong hero that would have deserved more exposition. Let the media morn about the death of The King of Pop (MJ), the hollow words of 'greatness' applied on this phantom of a human being do not count for real value in the context of a true, gifted artist like Jarmo Savolainen. Luckily, we have the keepswinging-blog to put things in a human and true perspective - thanks, Hans!


11:02 AM  
Anonymous Dr. F. said...

Way too young

Dr. F ( Florida)
(Organissimo Jazz Forums)

6:48 PM  
Anonymous Pan said...

Durium, thank you for remembering a fine Finnish musician!

R.I.P. Jarmo Savolainen.


(Blindman's Blues Forum.)

9:52 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm proud to have called Jarmo my friend. I knew for too short a time but it was time well spent. We coached an ensemble together for a week together in Riga, Lativa in '08. We played together some and hung out. We had met the year before in Sienna, Italy also at the IASJ Meeting. He died on my birthday. You can develop a love for people in a short amount of time and that is what I can say about Jarmo. I loved his music and especially his being. We were able to connect as friends in a short period of time that in retrospect seems much longer. I miss him very much.
Jeff "Siege" Siegel

3:58 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have been lucky to have shared the space and stage with Jarmo. He was always in for new things and challenges. I asked Jarmo to come and play with us, totally un prepaired in our improvisation evening Symphony, in Barker theater, Finland.Jarmo came,and made a great performance with us, dancers and Manuel Dunkel on sax. It was a pleasure to be on the stage with such a good improviser. Finland will be missing a very great, open minded and proffessional musician. Marjan Raar, Barker theater, Turku, Finland.

5:24 PM  
Blogger Amikam Kimelman said...

I am in in deep shock and sadness hearing about the death of my beloved friend Jarmo.
I've known him since we were students at Berklee back in 1980-82and since then we stayed in touch, met around the world as well as in Israel and had the pleasure to play together in several ocassions.
I have all of his tramendous CDs to which I listen quite often, knowing that everythime I'll descover new things in his music.
Finland has lost one of its greatest musicians and I lost a friend.
I'll miss you Jarmo.

Amikam Kimelman

1:18 AM  
Blogger Mayan said...

I can't believe that I'm just hearing this. Jarmo was one of my favorite pianists and a spiritual friend. We've been out of touch and I haven't been involved in the music scene for a while, so I've just learned about his passing, so belatedly... Remembering what a wonderful sense of humor and a beautiful soul he had. Thank you for the great laughs we shared, Jarmo. R.I.P.

Maya in Tokyo

1:04 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Thanks for the sharing about Jarmo.

He is a great pianist and a good friend whom I met at IASJ Conference in Poland in 2005.

RIP Jarmo...'til we meet again.

Helen Nanlohy

3:32 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I met Jarmo at Orpheus in Helsiinki Suomi, in 1987 and played with him 87 and 88. What an absolutely beautiful warm emotional pianist and such a supportive soulful accompanist. Brilliant player and deep old soul man! Love him and sorry to hear of his passing tonight! R.I.P. Jarmo Kiitos Paljion

4:02 AM  

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