Verneri Pohjola - © ACT / Jörg Grosse-Geldermann
Verneri Pohjola - © ACT / Jörg Grosse-Geldermann

Pohjola is a name with a lot of symbolic power in Finland. Pohjola is not only the place of origin of the famous national epic „Kalevala“, but also the last name of the most prestigious family of Finish jazz musicians.

With his 2011 ACT debut „Aurora“ trumpet player Verneri Pohjola gained attention far beyond the boarders of his home country. Not only did the German magazine STERN praise the album as „epically“, but the American Allaboutjazz agreed that, „Verneri Pohjola has got what it takes to become an international jazz star”.

Probably the most valuable compliment came from one of the most acclaimed young players of today, Trombone Shorty. On hearing Pohjola play for the first time, he said, “He has a wonderful tone. It has a wide arc to it, and he knows that space is precious – he lets the music speak for itself. Really fantastic!” Pohjola’s distinctive trumpet tone is initially muted, yet matches the coolness of Miles Davis with its clear, rough and occasionally metallic sound. Pohjola is constantly varying his articulation and is able to build up strong peaks in his playing.

His most recent 2012 album “Ancient History” (February 2012) impressively demonstrates Pohjola’s demand for being one of the leading jazz musicians of his country. The biggest difference to Aurora is certainly the instrumentation. Whereas his debut album included fifteen musicians, Ancient History gets along with an intimate quartet line-up: Aki Rissanen on piano, Joonas Riippa on drums and Antti Lötjönen on bass. All of these musicians are Pohjola’s longstanding companions. “It would surely be interesting and inspiring to work together with international stars. But for this album I wanted a band that I really know well. I wanted it to sound as live as possible. I’ve been playing with these guys for over ten years. We know each other inside out.”