Born: December 9, 1964 Primary Instrument: Saxophone
Born: December 9, 1964
Esa Pietila´s original style of avant garde / impro / freejazz and various projects of his - trio - quartet - solo saxophone concerts etc., have stabilized his position performing on the national / international jazz circuit, and have led him to play in USA, Canada, Italy, Germany, Norway, Sweden, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Iceland, England, USA, Australia, New Zeeland, Brazil and Cuba. Esa has performed with the names like Michael Jefry Stevens, Harvey Sorgen, Heiri Kaenzig, Jeff Siegel, Karl Berger, Mark Helias, John Esposito, Mathias Eick, Iro Haarla, Olavi Louhivuori, Aki Rissanen, Antti Lötjönen, Otto Gardner, Franziska Baumann, Christoph Baumann, Banz Oester, Mike Nock, Claudio Fasoli, Anders Begcrantz, Odean Pope, Raoul Björkenheim, Brian Melvin, Markku Ounaskari, Uffe Krokfors, Filip Augustson, Hilmar Jensson, Arthur Kell, Johannes Mössinger, Kjartan Valdemarsson, Fabian Kuratli, Jarmo Savolainen, Mika Kallio, Mikko Innanen, Seppo Kantonen, Ville Herrala and Erling Kroner. Esa has also stood on stage with many global jazz luminaries, e.g. Joe Henderson, McCoy Tyner, Carla Bley, David Liebman, Vince Mendoza, Maria Schneider, Ray Anderson...
Recently Esa has performed mostly with his improvised solo saxophone concerts, with newly born “Brain Inventory Trio” together with USA pianist MIchael Jefry Stevens and cellist Juho Laitinen from Finland, duo with drummer Harvey Sorgen (NYC), duo with Jeff Siegel, (NYC), trio with pianist john Esposito (USA), trio with drummer Mika Kallio & Swiss bass player Heiri Kaenzig, trio with Estonian guitarist Jaak Sooäär & MIka kallio (drs), 4 Streams Quartet with Iro Haarla, Ulf Krokfors & Markku Ounaskari, duo with German pianist Johannes Mössinger. Esa has also performed with a Finland based freejazz group Loco-Motif hosted by pianist Iro Haarla and Uffe Krokfors and with Swedish-Finnish cooperational quartet called “Comet”. A Scandinavian quintet “Nordik Kollektiv” was a project in 2005 with trumpet player Mathias Eick from Norway and a piano player Kjartan Valdemarsson from Iceland. In 2007 Pietilä started a series of totally improvised solo saxophone concerts, which will continue annually in Finland & abroad. In 2009 he released the album “Karhea” - a complitely improvised cd of solo recordings. Along with his engagements at international festivals, Esa has also been a regular visiting teacher and lecturer at annual IASJ symposium led by Davib Liebman.
Esa has released alltogether eight albums by his name. Among them is a totally improvised solo saxophone cd “Karhea” released in 2009 in which he creates long forms with improvisational approaches on various themes, motives & ambient soundscapes.
Additional projects also revolve around with his groups . - international guests added with the groups. eg. Brian Melvin (USA), Claudio Fasoli (Italy), Raoul Björkenheim (USA) to name a few... An Important project for Esa was also a co-operational scandinavian group called “Nordic Kollektiv” which started out on spring 2005 touring in The Netherlands and in Scandinavia, expressing their personal view of the “Nordic sound” and free-playing, plus collective improvisation. Esa has also toured many times in duo setup with German pianist Johannes Mössinger, and has performed trio concerts with Swiss bass player Heiri Kaenzig. Pietilä also plays with a Finland based freejazz group Loco-Motif, hosted by pianist and ECM artist Iro Haarla and Uffe Krokfors. Newly added project for him is a Finnish - Swedish collectiv group “COMET” with Tuomas Ojala (dr), Filip Augustson (b) & Verneri Pohjola (tp).
The formal education of Pietilä consists of mater´s Degree at Sibelius Academy jazz department in Helsinki, private lessons in the USA with David Liebman, Ellery Eskelin Tomas Franck and such. His most notable composition teacher is composer / bandleader Rich Shemaria.
Starting back from 1980 Pietilä has led a number of his own groups. His international career got a big boost late 1998, as the Dutch label A-RECORDS /CHALLENGE released his album “Fastjoik”. This collection of individual and multifarious compositions was performed by Pietilä's Finnish quartet in the 90�'s with the Swede trumpet virtuoso Anders Bergcrantz (trumpet).
In Finland, apart from his own groups, to name a few, Esa Pietilä has also performed in the ranks of the UMO Jazz Orchestra, plus many small band projects performing the modern sound of Finnish jazz / freejazz projects. Esa has composed music not only for the aforementioned orchestras, but also for numerous jazz productions by the Finnish Broadcasting Corporation YLE, for experimental projects with saxophone quartet, music for saxophone & electronics, and for a string quartet, solo instruments, big band and a multitude of national projects ranging from dance theater pieces to documentary films, On june 2002 he was one of the composers for a concert organized by IASJ (international association of schools for jazz) meeting kept in Helsinki, with world-wide known David Liebman (saxophone, Usa ) as a soloist.
band and a multitude of national projects ranging from dance theater pieces to documentary films, On june 2002 he was one of the composers for a concert organized by IASJ (international association of schools for jazz) meeting kept in Helsinki, with world-wide known David Liebman (saxophone, USA) as a soloist.
About solo saxophone CD Karhea....Congrats on the new CD - it's FANTASTIC! - AllAboutJazz-New York ( Laurence Donohue-Greene ) Esa is a wonderfully gifted saxophonist and composer. I can highly recommend Esa as a composer, performer and educator.” - Michael J. Stevens, member, International Society of Improvised Music
Pietilä´s uncompromising approach, search for new angles and refusal to walk the trodden path betray his lofty ambitions, which comes across wonderfully in his most recent trio discs Direct and Travel of fulica atra -from an interview by Finnish Music Quarterly, FIMIC, 2008:
Esa Pietilä, known as a prowess visionary and improviser”… - Finnish Music Quarterly
Pietilä is obviously serious about his craft of freeform jazz, and together with bassist Uffe krokfors and drummer Markku Ounaskari, he has created an uncompromising set of mainly collectively improvised material. Never one to blow his lungs out like Peter Brötzmann, but not one to hold back either, Pietilä has a peaceful, storyteller´s approach to his music. He places great attention to creating musical sceneries that are essentially Scandinavian – and – Finnish by nature. Over the six years that Pietilä, Krokfors and Ounaskari have worked together as a trio, their interaction has developed into something seamless. The trio´s enjoyment of playing jazz oozes through and this album may well be their finest effort so far. - Finnish Music Quarterly
Bounding into “Mind Hunt,” the first track, with buoyancy and immediate claim to the listener’s attention, Pietilä’s trio puts forth its strengths up front that carry it through the remainder of the album: the group’s engaged absorption in the music, the members’ interest in the infinite potential of the sounds they can create, their openness for free improvisation and the elaboration upon the conventional roles of their instruments. The result is a recording by matured and explorative musicians whose enjoyment in the process of playing jazz comes through in each of the12 tracks. Pietilä injects immediacy and surprise into his playing by going for unplanned gems that like-minded interaction can discover through spontaneous playing. Pietilä doesn’t include any chorded instruments in his trio, and with good reason: His interests are as much about implication—the spaces between the dots he punches out—as about literal adherence to pre-written composition. Although Esa Pietilä’s recordings aren’t as heavily promoted as those of saxophonists on larger labels, his work is that of an always explorative saxophonist, accessible though with a personal perspective toward the music he plays. And Direct is the work of a jazz artist worth the search. - Don Williamson, Jazzreview.com
Way up in Porvoo, Finland, Esa Pietilä, the leader of Direct, has a tenor tone suitable for framing, partaking of the Coltrane and post-Coltrane stream but also icily ruminative a la Jan Garbarek, without dipping into any untoward ECMism. The rhythm section alone on this trio date would prevent that. Take Mind Hunt, for example: bassist Krokfors quotes Milestones (the second one) while drummer Ounaskari plays with as many hands as Elvin Jones at his most ferociously exuberant, and Pietilä manages to evoke this highly-charged Sixties atmosphere while never resorting to the tired bag of tricks that so few have been able to resist before him. Even his reentry after a bass/drum solo on Headway strongly recalls the Master's reappearance after a similar interlude on Alabama, he doesn't allow himself to fall into any of the more obvious traps. Also, throughout this disc he seems to decline to take the bait offered by Krokfors and Ounaskari in particular, although the choices he does make complement their goading and churning just fine without making this into an outright Aylerfest. And his tone is gorgeous, particularly on the ringing Direct and the resonating Point Zero. - Robert Spencer, Cadence
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.
Pietilä has given masterclasses and clinics of jazz and free improvisation & saxophone expression at: Boston, Berklee Music school of Music, Privatiuniversitet Wien, Graz, University Jazz Department, Luzern Musichochschule in Switzerland, Malmö Royal Academy of music (Sweden), Reykjavik FUI Music School, etc plus numerous workshops at his home country. hours/rates - please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
MASTERCLASSES Masterclasses on improvisation, saxophone expression. Esa Pietilä gives masterclasses on various topics and methods of improvisation. Special topics include techniques of free improvisation & avantgarde expression which relate to variations on rhythmic aspects of performing different rubato styles, analogy versus contrast in harmony, playing with sound colours & textures and communication in group playing situation in general to express more with Your instrument / group. Some topics highlighted (ask for more specific presentation by mailing to email@example.com): - collective improvisation - improvisation from “scratch” - totally free improvisation/motives - contrapunct in collective improvisation - communication & “roles of the players” - layers within the group - dramaturgy & form Pietilä has given masterclasses and clinics of jazz and free improvisation & saxophone expression at: Boston, Berklee Music school of Music, Privatiuniversitet Wien, Graz, University Jazz Department, Luzern Musichochschule in Switzerland, Malmö Royal Academy of music (Sweden), Reykjavik FUI Music School, etc plus numerous workshops at his home country. Contact info: p. +358 400 815007, email: firstname.lastname@example.org