25 November 2005

Jari Perkiömäki receives jazz award

The Finnish Jazz Association has given its annual ”Yrjö” award to saxophonist Jari Perkiömäki who has been featured on these pages in connection with the Polar Jazz project.

The Jazz Association described Perkiömäki as a world class jazz musician, who has mastered many styles from bebop to free expression.

Perkiömäki was the first person in Finland to receive an MA and then a doctorate in jazz music at the Sibelius Academy. Since 2000 he has led the jazz department of the Academy. He is acknowledged as an excellent teacher of new generations of jazz musicians.

He was born in 1961 in Pori, the town that hosts the famous annual jazz festival. In Pori he has worked with the local big band both as a saxophonist and a conductor. He has also played with the internationally acclaimed UMO Big Band and with trumpeter Mika Mylläri’s Quintet. The latter participated in the Polar Jazz project in London in 2000. Perkiömäki has also fronted his own bands.

Perkiömäki has performed in many European countries, the United States and Australia. He has also played with well-known American musicians, among them Reggie Workman, Andrew Cyrille, Freddie Red and Don Preston.

In 1985 Perkiömäki received the Pekka Pöyry Prize, which is awarded to talented young Finnish saxophonists. In the same year readers of the Finnish jazz magazine Rytmi voted him "Jazz Musician of the Year". In 1991 he was the only Scandinavian to reach the semifinals of the Thelonious Monk Saxophone Competition in Washington D.C.

Perkiömäki can be heard on his own CD, Shades (JazzWeaver 1997), and on Mika Mylläri’s CDs Heritages (MMQ 1992) and Les Ponts (MMQ 1997).

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