Porvoo Jazz Festival: A Harmonious Blend of Woodwinds, Philosophy, and Musical Innovation

Porvoo Jazz Festival’s new artistic director, Max Zenger, has curated an exciting program for the upcoming event, which runs from September to October. Zenger, a versatile woodwind player, has teamed up with Jaska Lukkarinen, who has been running the festival for eight years. This year, the festival will feature a special guest, bass clarinetist Joris Roelofs, known for his unique approach to the instrument. Roelofs, who has a background in philosophy, brings a distinctive and transformative sound to his performances.

Max Zenger, who primarily plays the saxophone but is proficient in various wind instruments, has been impressed by Roelofs’ wide-ranging use of the bass clarinet’s capabilities. He finds Roelofs’ expression to be highly personal and instantly recognizable.

In addition to Roelofs, Zenger himself will perform in Porvoo with singer Selma Savolainen’s band, which recently released its debut album, “The Horror of the Void.”

The festival’s unique concept allows the audience to change venues during the intermission, providing an opportunity to hear two ensembles in one concert. Alongside Selma Savolainen’s band, drummer Jukkis Uotila will present an ensemble performing gems of Finnish jazz from the 1970s to the present day.

Other highlights of the festival include a Nordic collaboration concert, “Schlosser / Almqvist / Welin / Lukkarinen – Free Swing,” and a celebration concert for pianist Kari Ikonen, who turned 50, and his band Karikko, which celebrated its 25th anniversary.

A new addition to this year’s festival is the jazz raves, organized by Jaska Lukkarinen, which will take place in the basement of the WSOY building. These raves will feature music centered around John Coltrane’s “A Love Supreme” album, along with light art and pre-dancers.

The festival will also bring back the popular jazz tour of old Porvoo, guided by guitarists Raoul Björkenheim and city guide Jenny Törnroos.

Another standout performer at the festival is composer and multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor, known for his eclectic and unexpected music.

The festival will culminate with guitarist Mikko Iivanainen’s solo gig at Taidehalli and a concert by the Valtteri Laurell Nonet band at Taidetehta.

Porvoo Jazz Festival promises a diverse and exciting program, celebrating the richness of contemporary jazz and the joy of live music.

Don’t miss Joris Roelofs’ performance in Helsinki on October 1st, 2023, at the Hietsu is Happening event at the Hietsu pavilion (Hiekkarannatie 9). Tickets range from 10 to 20 euros.

Joris Roelofs will also serve as the artist-in-residence of the Finnish Jazz Association, the jazz music subject group of the Sibelius Academy, the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra, and the Musicians’ Union from November 6th to November 20th. He will perform with the UMO Helsinki Jazz Orchestra at Tanssi talon Pannuhalli (Kaapeliaukio 3) on November 10th at 7 pm. Tickets are available for 10-29 euros.

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