Pianist Aki Rissanen (b.1980) has been quickly rising among the few top forces of Finnish jazz. Over the last years, he has also made a name for himself in the international jazz scene especially as a leader of his own trio. Although originally classically trained, he has always had a heart for improvised music and jazz.
His debut album Amorandom (Edition Records, 2016) with Aki Rissanen Trio was critically acclaimed all around the world and has gained him a fast growing reputation on the European scene. The album received praises at home and abroad from prestigious newspapers like the Guardian and jazz magazines like Jazzwise. Finnish main newspaper Helsingin Sanomat selected the album as “The Best Jazz Album of the Year”. The album also won the Finnish Grammy, the Emma Award for the Best Jazz Album in 2016.
Aki Rissanen Trio released their second album “Another North” in November 2017 on Edition Records. It is an ambitious and rhythmically intense album that raises Aki Rissanen Trio undeniably into the forefront of the entire European jazz field. At the moment they are touring internationally on a regular basis. The trio features Antti Lötjönen (b.1980) on bass and Teppo Mäkynen (b.1974) on drums. Both players are the most sought-after musicians in the Finnish scene. They are founding members of one of the most successful Finnish jazz act, The Five Corners Quintet and they have collaborated with such names as Timo Lassy, Verneri Pohjola, Ilmiliekki Quartet, Jukka Eskola, Jukka Perko, Jeff ´Tain´ Watts, Nicola Conte, Ricky-Tick Big Band, Umo Jazz Orchestra among many others.
Aki Rissanen studied classical piano for 12 years in Finland and jazz and improvised music at the Conservatoire National Superieur de Musique in Paris, France. He took private lessons in New York, USA and Cologne, Germany in 2005-2008. In 2009, he graduated with a Master’s degree from the Sibelius Academy Jazz Department in Finland after studing jazz piano and composition for 7 years.
His teachers have included Jarmo Savolainen, Jukkis Uotila, Kirmo Lintinen, John Taylor, Jim Beard, Anders Jormin, Hervé Sellin, Markku Hyvärinen, Jouni Kuronen, Seppo Kantonen and Frank Carlberg, to name a few.
In addition to his high merits in the Solo Piano Competition at the Montreux Jazz Festival and La Defense competition in France, Rissanen has been best known for his works with saxophonist Dave Liebman on German Ozella Music and trumpeter Verneri Pohjola on British Edition Records and on ACT Music in Germany.
He has shared the stage with UMO Jazz Orchestra, The Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra, Lahti Symphony Orchestra, Dave Liebman, Rick Margitza, Randy Brecker, Sten Sandell, Tim Hagans, Emil Strandberg and Robert Ikiz among others. He has performed in most European countries, USA, Japan, China and North Africa.
Besides his trio, he leads a quartet titled Sininen Syksy featuring classical soprano Mari Palo, guitarist Teemu Viinikainen and drummer Joonas Riippa which performs the music of the Finnish composer Leevi Madetoja. He co-leads the trio entitled Aleatoric with Robin Verheyen (sax) and Markku Ounaskari (drums) and the quartet featuring the sax legend Dave Liebman. Other groups include Verneri Pohjola Quartet, Mikko Hassinen Elektro GT and Lauri Porra Flyover. He has released 10 albums as a leader or co-leader in UK, USA, France, Sweden and Finland.