Kalle Kalima (b. 1973) began his musical studies on the piano at the age of six, but switched to the guitar some five years later. Kalima studied at the Sibelius Academy (1995-2003) in Helsinki and at the Hanns Eiler Conservatory in Berlin under the guidance of Raoul Björkenheim and John Schröder, respectively, among many others.
After taking up residence in Berlin with his family in 2000, Kalima has continuously broadened his musical expression and has performed with a number of leading proponents of free improvisation both in Finland and internationally, including trumpeters Wadada Leo Smith and Tomasz Stanko, saxophonists Juhani Aaltonen, Anthony Braxton, Frank Gratkowski, Kari Heinilä, Harri Sjöström and Gebhard Ullmann, pianists Jason Moran and Heikki Sarmanto, bassists Greg Cohen, Sirone and Ed Schuller, guitarists Raoul Björkenheim, Marc Ducret and Frank Möbus, drummers Jim Black, Willi Kellers and Christian Lillinger, composers Eero Hämeenniemi, Simon Stockhausen and Michael Wertmüller as well as vocalists Jelena Kuljic, Andreas Schaerer and Linda Sharrock. He also frequently performs with Jimi Tenor in the realm of alternative pop/rock music.
In recent years, Kalima has mostly performed with his own and collaborative groups representing distinctly different approaches to improvised music. These currently include the jazz improvisation of two guitar trios, Johnny La Marama (with bassist Chris Dahlgren and drummer Eric Schaeffer) and Klima Kalima (with bassist Oliver Potratz and drummer Oliver Steidle), the free improvisation and avant-garde influences of K-18 and the Kalima-Kalmisto Duo (with Teppo Hauta-aho) and his solo project Kalle Kalima Pentasonic, where he surrounds the audience with five amplifiers and uses different effects and preparations in addition to his guitars. Kalima´s earlier groups have also included the freely pulsating improvisation of Momentum Impakto (with saxophonist Daniel Erdmann and drummer John Schröder) and the melodically rich, folk-influenced lieds of Soi Ensemble. He has also been featured as a soloist with larger ensembles, including Kalima´s concerts of his own compositions with the UMO Jazz Orchestra in 2009, the NDR Big Band in 2012 and Ensemble Resonanz in 2014.
Kalima´s recordings include his first two recordings with K-18 (Some Kubricks of Blood, TUM CD 022, and Out to Lynch, TUM CD 030), his solo recording Kalle Kalima Pentasonic (Iris in Trance), four recordings with Johnny La Marama (Johnny La Marama, …Fire!, Bicycle Revolution and Il Purgatorio), four recordings with Klima Kalima (Helsinki on My Mind, Chasing Yellow, Loru and Film Noir), two recordings with Momentum Impakto (Haw Haw and Hyvä Bändi Livenä), two recordings with Soi Ensemble (Pehmeä and Koiperhonen) and a recording with Kalima Trio (with Marc Ducret: Hippycone). He has also recorded with the Olavi Trio (Triologia,TUM CD 025), Bica Klammer Kalima (A Chama do Sol), Lynx (Lynx Fux Fox), Baby Bonk (…Sagt Die Waherheit), Jazz Parasites (Very Early), Maurice de Martin (Transylvania), Mircea Tiberian (Eleven and Palindrome), Nuijamiehet (Nuijamiehet) and the large improvising orchestra TUMO (with Wadada Leo Smith: Occupy the World, TUM CD 037-2), among others. In 2013, K-18´s second recording, Out to Lynch, received the Emma Award as the jazz record of the year in Finland.
Mikko Innanen (b. 1978) began playing the alto saxophone at the age of ten. He graduated with aMaster of Music degree from the Jazz Music Department of the Sibelius Academy in 2003. Innanen spent one year of his studies - fall 1998 and spring 1999 - in Copenhagen at the Rhythmic Music Conservatory, where he studied with and befriended a number of Danish and other students, leading to collaborations that still continue today.
In the past decade or so, Innanen has established his position as one of the most innovative saxophonists and composers on the Finnish and Nordic jazz and improvised music scene. He has also increasingly spent time in New York City performing with many of the leading improvisers on the local scene. To date, he has participated in some 40 recordings as a leader, co-leader or a featured member of an ensemble.
Innanen currently works with his own groups ranging from Mikko Innanen & Innkvisitio (Paa-Da-Pap, TUM CD 019, and Clustrophy, TUM CD 025) and the 12-piece Mikko Innanen 10+ to hisNew York-based trios with bassist Joe Fonda and drummer Lou Grassi and with bassist William Parker and drummer Andrew Cyrille and his solo project, Mikko Innanen F60.8. He is also well known for his participation in various collaborative groups, such as PLOP (with bassist Ville Herrala and drummer Joonas Riippa), Delirium (with trumpeter Kasper Tranberg, bassist Jonas Westergaard and drummer Stefan Pasborg; Eclexistence, TUM CD 010), Aki Rissanen & Mikko Innanen Frozen Gainsbourg (with trumpetist Emil Strandberg, pianist Aki Rissanen, bassist Per Zanussi and Stefan Pasborg), Mikko Innanen / Markus Pesonen / Mika Kallio Trio, Gourmet (with trombonist Ilmari Pohjola, Veli Kujala, guitarist Esa Onttonen, tuba player Petri Keskitalo and drummer Mika Kallio), Treffpunkt (with violist Frantz Loriot, pianist Cedric Piromalli and bassist Christian Weber), The Curators (with bassist James Ilgenfritz and percussionist Joe Hertenstein), Triot (with bassist Nicolai Munch-Hansen and Stefan Pasborg; Triot with John Tchicai(Sudden Happiness, TUM CD 008), Mikko Innanen-Jaak Sooäär-Han Bennink Trio (Spring Odyssey, TUM CD 015) and the Innanen / Piromalli / Hauta-aho / Lovens Quartet.He also performs with Stefan Pasborg´s Free Moby Dick, Tonight At Noon,Pekka Tuppurainen´s Röd/Blå,Teppo Mäkynen´s Serenity Ensemble and Per Zanussi´s Zanussi 13. His past collaborations have included Iro Haarla-Ulf Krokfors Loco Motife (Penguin Beguine,TUM CD 011), Mr Fonebone, Nuijamiehet, Teddy Rok 7, Triade,the UMO Jazz Orchestra, the Espoo Big Band and TUMO (with Wadada Leo Smith: Occupy the World,TUM CD 037-2, andwith Henrik Otto Donner: And It Happened…, TUM CD 039).
In addition, Innanen has performed and/or recorded with a number of other well-known international artists such as trumpeters Laurent Blondiau, Magnus Broo, Thomas Heberer, Ingrid Jensen and Herb Robertson, saxophonists Joachim Badenhorst, Bob Mintzer, Liudas Mockunas, Josh Sintonand Dayna Stephens, clarinetist Jean-Brice Godet, trombonist Steve Swell, pianists Jacob Anderskov, Sylvie Courvoisier and Fred Van Hove, violist Mat Maneri, guitarists John Ehlis, Takayuki Kato and Hans Olding, vibraphonist Karl Berger, balafonist Aly Keita, bassists Ken Filiano, Barry Guy, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten, Max Johnson, John Lindberg and Pascal Niggenkemper, drummers Billy Cobham, Joe Hertenstein, Håkon Mjåset Johansen, Paal Nilssen-Love, Kresten Osgood, Randy Peterson, Tom Rainey and Weasel Walter, percussionist Adam Rudolph as well as virtually all of the musicians active in the Finnish jazz scene.
Veli Kujala (b. 1976) received his Master of Music degree from the Sibelius Academy in 2004 and his Doctor of Music degree in 2010. Although Kujala has won several prizes in international competitions for soloists and for composition in the field of classical music, he is also well known for his interest in improvised music.
In recent years, Kujala has performed improvised music with a number of ensembles ranging from the Brazilian influenced Pipoka (withtuba player Petri Keskitalo and guitarist Jarmo Julkunen) and the eclectic jazz group Gourmet (with Mikko Innanen and others) to the freely improvising Velhot (with violinist Mikko-Ville Luolajan-Mikkola and Teppo Hauta-aho) and Kaski (with saxophonist Jorma Tapio, bassist Sampo Lassila and percussionist Janne Tuomi) as well as Kujala´s duo with trombonist Jari Hongisto and TUMO (with Wadada Leo Smith: Occupy the World, TUM CD 037-2). Kujala has also frequently performed in France, including concerts with Unit (with saxophonist Matthieu Donarier, trumpeter Laurent Blondiau and bassist Sebastien Boisseau), Quatuor IXI (with violinists Régis Huby and Irène Lecoq, viola player Guillaume Roy and cellist Atsushi Sakai) and Yolk Collective (with saxophonist Alban Darche, trombonists Daniel Casimir and Jean-Louis Pommier and bassist Sebastien Boisseau).
Kujala has co-operated with a number of contemporary composers and has premiered accordion concertos by Markus Fagerudd, Pekka Pohjola and Olli Virtaperko. He has also performed works by composers Kalevi Aho, Frierich Goldmann, Paola Livorsi, Uljas Pulkkis, Einojuhani Rautavaara, Osmo Tapio Räihälä, Tomi Räisänen, Matthew Whittall and Helmut Zapf and has performed as a soloist with numerous chamber music ensembles and symphony orchestras.
Kujala´s collaboration with composer Sampo Haapamäki led to the invention of a new instrument, the quarter-tone accordion, which Kujala uses when performing with K‑18. Sampo Haapamäki´s concerto for the quarter-tone accordion, Velinikka, was premiered by Kujala and the Insomnio Ensemble in Amsterdam in 2008 and Joachim Schneider´s Double Concerto also featuring this instrument was premiered by Kujala and the Lapland Chamber Orchestra in 2011.
Teppo Hauta-aho (b. 1941) first began playing the double bass by ear without any formal musical education. After learning the basics of prima vista, he was admitted to the Sibelius Academy in 1963 and studied bass with the legendary Oiva Nummelin, receiving his diploma in 1970. He also studied bass with Frantisek Posta in Prague during the late 1960s and early 1970s. Between 1965 and 1972, Hauta-aho was a member of the Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra and, from 1975 until his retirement in 1999, a member of the Finnish National Opera Orchestra.
Throughout his career, Hauta-aho has continued to play improvised music alongside his career as a classical musician and composer. During the 1960s and 1970s, Hauta-aho was a member of a number of important Finnish jazz groups including the Juhani Vilkki Sextet (with guitarist Juhani Vilkki, saxophonists Pekka Pöyry and Stanley Lindroos, pianist Eero Ojanen and drummer Pekka Tirkkonen) and Quartet (with Vilkki, Lindroos and Tirkkonen), the Pekka Pöyry Quartet (with Pekka Pöyry, Eero Ojanen and drummer Esko Rosnell), Kalmisto Klang (with Pekka Pöyry, saxophonist Seppo Paakkunainen, trombonist Mircea Stan, trumpeter Mike Koskinen and drummer Edward Vesala), the Tuohi Quartet (with Seppo Paakkunainen, pianist Heikki Sarmanto and Edward Vesala), the Mircea Stan Sextet (with Seppo Paakkunainen, saxophonist Pentti Lahti, Mircea Stan, pianist Vladimir Shafranov and drummer Reino Laine) and the Kalmisto Quartet (with Seppo Paakkunainen, trumpeter Jarmo Sermilä and drummer Jukka Wasama).
Hauta-aho has also performed as a member of the George Russell Big Band, the Mal Waldron Quartet, the Anthony Braxton Octet and, from 1998 until 2001, the Cecil Taylor Quintet (with Taylor, saxophonist Harry Sjöström, cellist Tristan Honsinger and drummer Paul Lovens). More recently, Hauta-aho has been a member of the Olavi Trio (with trombonist Jari Hongisto and drummer Olavi Louhivuori: Trilogia, TUM CD 026), the Kalima-Kalmisto Duo (with Kalle Kalima), Sound Kitchen (with Jari Hongisto and guitarist Hasse Poulsen), the Töölö Bass Trio (with bassists Erik Siikasaari and Heikki Virtanen) and Quintet Modern (with Harry Sjöström, trombonist Paul Rutherford, violinist Phil Wachsmann and Paul Lovens) and performed with pianist Eero Ojanen (Duo Nueva Finlandia: Short Stories, TUM CD 012).