Iro Haarla (1956) studied piano at the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki with Izumi Tateno and also studied piano and improvisation with Heikki Sarmanto and composition and arrangement with Einar Englund. In the late 1970s, Haarla began her collaboration with percussionist Edward Vesala that continued until his death in 1999. In addition to being Haarla´s musical partner, Vesala was also her husband and the father of her two daughters. Her musical collaboration with Vesala included a membership in Vesala´s Sound and Fury ensemble and working on various other projects with Vesala, including music for several plays and movies. With Vesala, Haarla recorded several albums for ECM Records as well as Vesala´s own Leo Records playing piano, harp and keyboards.
In addition to working with Vesala, Haarla has, at various times, been a member of saxophonist Tapio Rinne´s Rinneradio, saxophonist Jorma Tapio´s Rolling Thunder, bassist Antti Hytti´s and saxophonist Jone Takamäki´s Otná Eahket quartet and various other groups. She has also performed with saxophonist Juhani Aaltonen, saxophonist Trygve Seim, trumpeter Tomasz Stanko and many other leading European jazz musicians.
In the last few years, Haarla has increasingly performed her own compositions both as a solo pianist, with solo concerts in Japan and the Czech Republic in addition to Finland, and in smaller ensembles such as the duo with saxophonist Pepa Päivinen, which published the much-lauded album "Yarra Yarra" in 2001. One of her compositions was also performed by the UMO Jazz Orchestra with trumpeter Tomasz Stanko as the featured soloist in a concert broadcasted by EBU in 2002. Currently, Haarla considers her duo and other ventures with Ulf Krokfors as her main creative outlets.
Ulf Krokfors (b. 1966) first began playing the bass with composer and trumpeter Henrik Otto Donner´s quintet in the mid 1980s. Krokfors quickly made his mark by playing with Edward Vesala´s Sound and Fury ensemble (1988-1990) and guitarist Raoul Björkenheim´s Krakatau ensemble (1988-1999) and recording with both for ECM Records.
After those early engagements, Krokfors has become the most in-demand bass player in Finland and his resume reads like a Who´s Who of the current Finnish jazz scene. Most importantly, in addition to his cooperation with Iro Haarla, Krokfors is a member of the Juhani Aaltonen Trio, plays in the trio and quartet of pianist Jarmo Savolainen, continues his cooperation with Donner in the latter´s Free For All ensemble and belongs to the 12-member Suhkan Uhka ensemble. Other frequent collaborators are pianist Samuli Mikkonen, saxophonist Rasmus Korsström and saxophonist/flutist/pianist Sakari Kukko.
In recent years, Krokfors has increasingly focused on his own compositions, some of which have already been featured on the first albums of both Suhkan Uhka (Suhka, TUM CD 001) and the Juhani Aaltonen Trio (Mother Tongue, TUM CD 002) as well as on a number of other recordings.
Rasmus Korsström (b. 1969) first began playing saxophone with Henrik Otto Donner in the late 1980s and also played with Ulf Krokfors for the first time in Donner´s groups. In the late 1980s, Korsström participated in one of Edward Vesala´s Sound and Fury workshops and, from 1988 until 1992, studied at the Jazz Department of the Sibelius Academy. In the years since, Korsström has played with most Finnish jazz musicians with frequent collaborators including keyboardist Jukka Gustavsson, trumpeter Markku Johansson, pianist Seppo Kantonen and bassist Make Lievonen. Currently, in addition to his different forms of collaboration with Henrik Otto Donner and Ulf Krokfors that have continued to date, Korsström also plays in various other groups, including trumpeter Antero Priha´s Breadmachine and guitarist Pekka Tegelman´s Stiff Palace.