Jazz pIanist and composer Samuli Mikkonen (b.1973 Jyvaskyla, Finland) is an emerging name in the European jazz scene.
His distinct and recognisable sound has its deepest roots in the landspaces and sounds of Central Finland, an area full of lakes and forests. Besides the Scandinavian and European jazz tradition, influences of Finnish as well as other ethnic musics can be heard, as well as 20th century classical music.
His latest project, KUÀRA, is an all-acoustic trio with drummer Markku Ounaskari and trumpet player Per Jorgensen, and their first CD on ECM Records, produced by Manfred Eicher, was released in November 2010. In 2012, another Norwegian, saxophonist Trygve Seim, has substituted Jorgensen in most of their concerts.
Mikkonen first appeared in the top-notch jazz bands of his home country Finland in the mid-90's, and has since then worked home and abroad, with a growing list of collaborators and different projects. Mikkonen has led a Scandinavian trio consisting of him, bassist Anders Jormin and drummer Audun Kleive. He has played sideman gigs for Kenny Wheeler, John Zorn, Mike Gibbs and Wayne Krantz. In Finland, he has been the pianist of choice for world jazz outfit Piirpauke and jazz/improvising artists Sonny Heinilä, Sakari Kukko, Mika Mylläri, Pekka Pylkkänen, Jouni Järvelä and Jorma Tapio. He will also appear on the forthcoming CD of Senegalese singer Julia Sarr, one of the most interesting musicians in the Paris world music scene.