Born: August 26, 1973 Primary Instrument: Piano
Kari Ikonen (b.1973) has studied piano and composition at the Sibelius-Academy Jazz Department, from where he got a Master of Music degree in 2001. He has also studied at the Jyväskylä Music Institute and the Rotterdam Conservatory in Holland. His main instruments are piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano and analogue Moog synthesizer. In addition to his own trio and his sextet Karikko he plays in the jazz-folk ensemble Ahava, the electro-acoustic improvisation trio Gnomus, the art-pop/world/jazz trio SLO Motive, and jazz groups Kolhoz and Markus Holkko Quartet, performing frequently in Finland and abroad. He has performed with many internationally known musicians, such as Bob Moses, Ingrid Jensen, Henry Lowther, Stan Sultzman, Ron McClure, Vincent Courtois, Magnus Broo, André Fernandes, Gunnar Halle, Dayna Stephens, Poogie Bell, Raoul Björkenheim, Eero Koivistoinen, Jukka Gustavsson, Otto Donner, Manuel Dunkel, Jukkis Uotila and Sonny Heinilä. Ikonen has performed in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Russia, Latvia, Iceland, The Faroe Islands, France, Portugal, Spain, Germany, Great Britain, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Poland, Hungary, Serbia, Armenia, Czech Republic and the USA. Ikonen’s playing and/or compositions can be heard on more than 20 records. Ikonen has composed a lot of music for different small groups and larger ensembles, e.g. UMO Jazz Orchestra and The Norwegian Radio Orchestra. In 2000 he won the first prize at the International Julius Hemphill Composition Awards (Jazz Composers Alliance, USA). His debut-cd ”Karikko”, consisting of his compositions for different ensembles, was chosen as the best Finnish jazz-cd of 2001 by the ”Jazz-Emma” prize (Finland’s Grammy) and in 2002 he won the first prize in the ”Scrivere in Jazz” big band composition contest in Italy. Ikonen works as a part-time professor at the jazz departments of the Sibelius-Academy in Helsinki and at the Estonian Music Academy in Tallinn.
Awards:-First prize at the "Scrivere in Jazz" composition contest in Sassari, Italy 2002. -First prize at Jazz Composers Alliance/Julius Hemphill Composition Awards, USA 2000. -"Jazz-Emma" - Prize (Finland's Grammy) for the best jazz-cd of 2001.
“Inventive, spright and clever, Bright is not just a good Nordic jazz record, it’s world-class good.” -Something Else Reviews (USA)
“Mit seiner aus jeder Note berstenden Lust aufs Zusammenspiel, durch eine besondere Klangschönheit und Harmoniefülle (…) erzeugt eine CD wie ,,Bright” schon vom ersten Ton an Aufmerksamkeit.” -Jazzthing (DE) April / Mai 2013
”With The Helsinski Suite, Ikonen has created once again his own perspectives of, or reactions to, or elaborations upon, various genres. At the same time, he has set up opportunities for the members of Karikko to personalize his music through exceptional individual performances as well.” -Cadence (USA)
”I'm impressed. Ikonen’s overall vision is powerful and unique. This recording (The Helsinski Suite), to my ears is exquisite, mysterious, mystical, sensitive, strange, funny, subtle, reflective and beautifully played with each musician displaying great tone and feeling at the highest level. Bravo!! -Bob Moses
The Helsinski Suite er noe av det fineste jeg har hørt på plate på veldig lenge!” -Jazznytt (Norway) 4/2011
”The combination of cello, trumpet and flute was an unusual but inspired choice, and it gave Karikko a sound all its own.” -All About Jazz (USA) 4/2011
Kari Ikonen Trio sounds like a jazz trio at its best. -Finnish Music Quarterly
Karikko provided the very challenge we hope to get from jazz, and matched the austerity of the music with a new, utterly distinct kind of beauty. -Rochester City Newspaper (USA) 2009
”Ikonen has defined a fertile space of his own, and Karikko eloquently expresses it with him.” -All About Jazz, 2003
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Willing to teach:
Advanced students only.