The timelessly modern Tuomo Uusitalo Trio embarks on a Jazz Federation tour in March

Valtteri Pokela

Led by pianist Tuomo Uusitalo, who has been active in New York since 2012 and recently returned to Finland, the trio will be performing concerts across Finland in March.

Tuomo Uusitalo Trio, comprised of Uusitalo, bassist Juuso Rinta, and drummer Roope Kantonen, was chosen as the Artist of the Year at last year’s Pori Jazz Festival. The trio represents a blend of traditional and modern piano trio sound, featuring both jazz standards and original compositions penned by all three members. Produced by Finnish Jazz Federation, the tour will take the band to eight different locations: Espoo, Savonlinna, Tornio, Raahe, Joensuu, Kuopio, Oulu, and Turku.

The original music of Tuomo Uusitalo Trio can be heard on their debut album Homecoming, released in October 2023 by the Spanish record label Fresh Sound Records. Aptly named, the album reflects Uusitalo’s years in New York, with influences ranging from master pianists like Bud Powell and Red Garland to the playful angularity of Thelonious Monk, which shines through in the trio’s performances.

A band that regularly plays together has honed itself into an incredible live performance shape, and Uusitalo eagerly anticipates the upcoming tour.

“It’s such an honor to get to play with my trio on the Finnish Jazz Federation tour. We’ve been working on the trio for almost two years in Helsinki, with a weekly gig at Ravintola Sörkan Ruusu, and it’s great to take this band around Finland to so many different cities. We’ll be performing material from our Homecoming album, but in addition to that, there will also be brand new material heard during the tour,” Uusitalo explains.

Tuomo Uusitalo is an internationally acclaimed jazz pianist who has been based in New York since 2012, before returning to Finland and Helsinki. After graduating from the prestigious University of Music and Performing Arts in Graz, Austria, Uusitalo moved to New York and immersed himself in the local jazz scene. Throughout his career, the pianist has released four albums under his own name, had a residency at the legendary Small’s Jazz Club in New York, and performed and toured with several top ensembles and musicians, including the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, Jimmy Cobb, Billy Hart, Chris Cheek, Seamus Blake, Justin Brown, Dayna Stephens, Ulysses Owens Jr., and Joe Farnsworth. Uusitalo was named the artist of the year at the 2023 Pori Jazz Festival.

Juuso Rinta is an active bassist and composer in the Finnish jazz scene. In addition to his own ensemble, he can be heard in groups such as the Hector Lepe Quartet, Markus Holkko Quartet, Ilmari Rönkä Textures, and Silva Kallionpää Quartet. In recent years, Rinta has performed with most of Finland’s leading jazz musicians, and in addition to club and festival gigs in Finland, he has also performed in Europe and the United States. Rinta studied jazz music at the Sibelius Academy and the Manhattan School of Music in New York.

Roope Kantonen was selected as the Jazz Musician of the Year 2022 by the Finnish Musicians’ Union. He is a jazz drummer, composer, and educator who graduated with a master’s degree in jazz music from the Amsterdam Conservatory. Having moved from the Netherlands to Finland in 2021, Kantonen has played on twelve albums and performed with various ensembles not only in Finland but also elsewhere in Europe. Kantonen is known for ensembles such as the Teemu Kekkonen Trio, DeJong/Rebane/Kantonen Trio, Roope Kantonen 5tet, YenTing Lo Quartet, and Roope Kantonen 3.

Tuomo Uusitalo Trio

Tuomo Uusitalo – piano
Juuso Rinta – double bass
Roope Kantonen – drums

Concert Venues and Dates

Fri 15.3. at 6:00 PM Espoo, Original Sokos Hotel Tapiola Garden / April Jazz Club
Sat 16.3. at 7:00 PM Savonlinna, Kulttuurikellari / Olavin Jazz ry
Sun 17.3. at 3:00 PM Tornio, Aineen taidemuseo / Riverside Jazz ry
Mon 18.3. at 7:00 PM Raahe, Friemanin talo / Rajatsi ry
Tue 19.3. at 7:00 PM Joensuu, Pakkahuone / Jazzkerho -76 ry
Wed 20.3. at 7:00 PM Kuopio, King´s Crown / Kuopio Jazz & Blues ry
Thu 21.3. at 6:00 PM Oulu, Teatterikuoppa / Oulun Musiikkijuhlat
Fri 22.3. at 7:00 PM Turku, Logomon Move-sali / Flame Jazz

Jazz – heard and seen!

Finnish Jazz Federation’s essential form of operation is national touring. The annual touring activities enable approximately 100 concerts in 40 different locations all over Finland. The concerts mainly take place in their member organizations. Four of the tours are in-house productions, and five are produced in co-operation with external producers.

Photo: Meri Björn