aki rissanen pianist / composer





Songs for Solstice, Eclipse Music 2017


Aki Rissanen, piano and prepared piano

Robin Verheyen, soprano and tenor saxophone

Markku Ounaskari, drums and percussion

Aleatoric, Eclipse Music 2013


Aki Rissanen, piano

Robin Verheyen, soprano and tenor saxophone

Markku Ounaskari, drums and percussion

Semplice, Alba Records 2009


Aki Rissanen, piano

Robin Verheyen, soprano and tenor saxophone


Liner Notes from “Aleatoric”:


Consider this for a minute. When you look back at all the things that really matter in your life, what did you expect? I mean your career, your relationships, all the happy memories – they all seem to have a common denominator of some kind, don’t they? That is, you probably didn’t have too many expectations, let alone demands. Things ”just kinda happened”.

You couldn’t choose to meet those particular friends or that particular spouse, and you were born to the certain parents at a certain place due to a miraculous, cosmic whatchamacallit. Yet it often seems so right. Stuff was ”aleatoric”.

Pianist Aki Rissanen from Finland met saxophone player Robin Verheyen from Belgium while the two were living in Paris in 2005. Time, place, and a set of shared artistic values led to their collaboration, which is very much ongoing today and beyond.

Sure, you can call it random in a way which is not very unique. Had they been there during slightly different times, this connection hadn’t happened but maybe there could have been others, who knows. The point is, there’s still something of a chance factor here as well. Plus, the more these two young artists make their own lucky breaks happen, the easier it is to see how this particular thing just had to happen.

That’s what I hear in the music herein. The duo adds Markku Ounaskari on drums, addresses a batch of stirring originals and improvisations, and turns a couple of new corners on the borrowed stuff included.

What you always hear is a sum of your own interpretations, so mine might not have anything to do with yours. And frankly, let’s leave all that ”who did what in a which way to what kind of effect” to the critics, there are some good ones out there.

The band didn’t rehearse before the recording, as they flew all in at the last minute from who knows where. All they had was some sketches and melodies. Well, actually they had more. That’s right, they had an idea of music which embodies not only the current writing plus the musicians’ shared collective history, but also a vision of a fresh kind of energy and communication to be laid on tape. Consequently, a lot of what you hear is ”take #1” material.

How did they do? Well, just pop in the disc hear for yourself.

But consider this for a minute. When you look at the history of jazz as the art of the moment, what do the best, the most innovative, and the bravest of all the great recordings have in common? Don’t you think most of them are a bit ”aleatoric”?

Matti Nives, Helsinki, 21.12.2012