Emblematic of the new Finnish jazz scene, the duo of trumpet player Verneri Pohjola and drummer Mika Kallio returns to France in November 2020 for concerts and film-concerts Animal Image.
A poetic documentary dealing with the infinite relationship between man and nature, Animal Image depicts animals exposed to a temporality devoid of anthropomorphic presence. The film, directed by visual artist Perttu Saksa and inspired by the work of photographer Heikki Willamo, is built around the original music of trumpeter Verneri Pohjola and percussionist Mika Kallio. This improvised dialogue becomes the metaphor of a conversation between man and animal, outside the limits of written language or fictional scenarios. This music evokes in turn the landscapes of the immense Arctic and the Finnish archaic forest, the human and animal quest for a world shared in symbiosis, a search for fullness and purity. It is brilliantly captured in the moment by the album “Animal Image” released in 2018 on the English label Edition Records.
After the first concerts in France in May 2019 (Europa Jazz Festival – Le Mans, Jazzdor season – Strasbourg, Finnish Institute – Paris), the film-concert version of this fascinating project will be presented in November 2020 at two French festivals: the 10th at D’Jazz Nevers and the 13th at Jazzdor, Strasbourg. From 14 to 18 November, this tour will also include concerts and screenings of the film, school concerts and meetings with the public. The programme for the second leg of the tour will be announced during the summer.
Equally at home in a classical jazz idiom as in improvised music, drummer-percussionist Mika Kallio develops a colourful personal language that makes him a sought-after musician on the Finnish scene. Over the years, he has performed with many leading musicians such as Raoul Björkenheim, Juhani Aaltonen, Iro Haarla, Tomasz Stanko and Philippe Catherine. In 2008 he created Kallio Slaaki, a drum trio with Anssi Nykänen and Mikko Hassinen. He regularly collaborates with trumpet player Verneri Pohjola, in duo (Animal Image) and within his recent formations (quintet ” Pekka ” and quartet). In France, he has been heard in the sextet Gourmet, in duo with saxophonist Mikko Innanen and double bassist Sébastien Boisseau. Graduated from the Sibelius Academy in 2002, he teaches at the Kuopio Conservatory.
Revealed at the beginning of the 2000s within the Ilmiliekki quartet, trumpet player Verneri Pohjola has established himself as an essential voice in Finnish jazz, following in the footsteps of the great Nordic figures of contemporary jazz. Present on the international stages at the head of his formations or as a guest musician, he has performed in France in the bands of saxophonist Sylvain Rifflet. Among his fellow performers are Aki Rissanen, Antti Lötjönen, Teppo Mäkynen and Olavi Louhivuori. After a stint on the ACT label in 2010-2013, he began a fruitful collaboration with the English label Edition Records on which he has signed four albums to date: “Bullhorn” (2015) in quartet, “Pekka” (2017) in quintet, “Animal Image” (2018) in duo with Mika Kallio, and “The Dead Don’t Dream” (2020) with his new quartet. He has received several awards and has been named Finland’s Jazz Musician of the Year in 2017.