During the 48 years of its existence, Pori Jazz has grown into an internationally known Finnish jazz festival. However, many other Finnish towns also arrange their own jazz events. One of the recent concepts, Flame Jazz, was developed in Turku in 2011, when the city shared the title of European Capital of Culture with Tallinn.
Flame jazz comprises concerts and other events round the year. The audiences can enjoy high quality music, but at the same time Flame Jazz offers young talents an opportunity to perform and learn from the experienced professionals.
Over two years now there has been a concert about every fortnight and other activities now and then, excluding summer and Christmas holidays. Flame Jazz works in cooperation with local music venues and events. They have also arranged a few successful cruises: 24 hours onboard a ferry with a different jazz band on all stages.
On March 14, I listened to AR Quartet at Cafe Tiljan, which is the foyer of Swedish Theatre (Åbo Svenska Teater, ÅST). The gig marked the release of the band’s first album bearing the name of the group.
About 40 music lovers had ascended to the foyer of this oldest theatre building in Finland. The mixture of crystal chandeliers, red velvet and modern jazz created a peculiar atmosphere. The modesty, even shyness, of the talented young musicians and the appreciation of the too few listeners added up to an unpretentious musical evening.
AR stands for Artturi Rönkä, who was elected as the Artist of the year in Pori Jazz 2013. He also composes most of the music performed by the group. In 2012, the band was awarded the first prize in the Finnish “Young Nordic Jazz Comets” competition and the second prize in the “Jazz Hoeilaart” competition in Belgium.
Two months ago I happened to attend a concert by Turku Jazz Orchestra in the decorative ÅST auditorium, which was fairly full.
This time the stage was smaller and the number of listeners just a fraction of the big band audience, but the music was more enjoyable, at least to me. No complaints for the service at the box office or cafeteria, either, even though there is a slight amateur feeling in everything.
The event I attended: AR Quartet at Cafe Tiljan, Turku, on Friday 14 March 2014
Artturi Rönkä (piano ), Sampo Kasurinen (saxophones), Eero Seppä (bass), Jonatan Sarikoski (drums)