aki rissanen pianist / composer

Winner of the Emma Award, the Finnish Grammy for the best jazz album of 2016 (Amorandom on Edition Records)

‘Aki is a tremendously musical, passionate and soulful person and has a high energy level. He is one of the best young pianists I have heard in years’. DAVE LIEBMAN

‘Rising star around Europe’ DOWNBEAT

”Advanced ideas with a street-sharp attack. Rissanen’s fine trio is a formidable force, with fresh musical intelligence to match flawless techniques.” THE GUARDIAN 

”Aki Rissanen is the one to watch- Finnish pianist’s chameleonic virtuosity has seen him play with an enviable list of luminaries- and it’s only now that the pianist’s own distinct identity is emerging. Rissanen is a musical storyteller, a jazz musician with something to say.”  STUART NICHOLSON, JAZZWISE

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What The Critics Said about Amorandom:

”Advanced ideas with a street-sharp attack- Rissanen’s fine trio is a formidable force, with fresh musical intelligence to match flawless techniques.” THE GUARDIAN (UK)

”Aki Rissanen is the one to watch- Finnish pianist’s chameleonic virtuosity has seen him play with an enviable list of luminaries- and it’s only now that the pianist’s own distinct identity is emerging. Rissanen is a musical storyteller, a jazz musician with something to say.”  STUART NICHOLSON, JAZZWISE MAY 2016 TAKING OFF FEATURE (UK)

“In a world of piano trios, a point of difference is simply essential. This particular trio, hailing from Finland and led by pianist Aki Rissanen, makes that difference clear from the outset. The key to this, and in addition to each of the musicians’ individual talents, is the group’s ability to change mood subtly and kaleidoscopically…the over-arching characteristic of this excellent album is its ability to consistently engage the listener, which it does with aplomb.” ALL ABOUT JAZZ (UK)

“The best jazz at the moment… Aki Rissanen has made the best jazz album of the year. Pianist exceeds himself with the most common instrumentation in jazz: the piano trio. HELSINGIN SANOMAT 5/5 (FI)

“Aki Rissanen has made his international breakthrough album… Rissanen’s melodic compositions and intricate ensemble trio-working are thrilling…The more personal and free approach makes the album different from traditional piano trio records” KAUPPALEHTI 5/5 (FI)

‘Distinctly Finnish with a unique flourish. Rissanen’s austere harmony, his folky melodies, the intensity of the trio’s interactions, added to the lingering sense of narrative, give Amorandom its own unique atmosphere. It has ended up sounding more original than many more ambitious trio projects. IRISH TIMES 4/5 (IE)

“The album draws an extraordinarily vivid landscape of ideas” JAZZTHING (DE)

“Displaying a distinctly oblique yet beautifully affecting jazz sensibility, Finnish pianist and composer Aki Rissanen’s Amorandom defines ‘the piano trio’ afresh in an album which effervesces with both spontaneity and unpredictability. It may well become one of the finest you’ll hear this year. Outstanding.” AP REVIEWS (UK)

“One of the most interesting releases in 2016” DISTRITO JAZZ (ES)

“This is a group that has something fresh to say, avoiding the clichés of both writing for film and of the piano trio format itself. Aki Rissanen Trio has very much developed a sound of its own. ” JAZZMANN (UK)

“Much of the material on the album utilises the stunning rhythmic freedom which the musicians are able to produce. Amorandom takes the elements of classic jazz which we know and love and blends them with impeccably executed modern rhythms. A five-star album!” JAZZ FROM YORK (UK)

“Contemporary piano, for sure, but not beyond comprehension – how could it be? it was composed for an animated film realised by, I quote, the grand old man of the Finnish animation scene, Antti Peränne. I want to see that film!” BEBOP SPOKEN HERE (UK)

“Aki Rissanen has already reached the first row of the pianists in Northern Europe, and with this CD his reputation will continue to rise.” NORDISCHE MUSIK (DE)

“The music on the album is based on the former Rissanen soundtrack to one experimental animated film and is strongly influenced not only dense jazz esprit a’la EST, but also minimalism, impressionism and classic Nordic lyricism. However, the resulting sound by the trio is absolutely unique! Breathtaking …” JAZZPORT (CZ)

“It’s a piano trio album that has continued to unfold with repeated plays, and Rissanen gives the other two members of the group space to spread out and develop ideas…” DAVID TRAHERNE BLOG (UK)

“Suprisingly excellent Finnish piano jazz album of the 2000’s…Rissanen accomplishes to transfer emotions in his music in a way, which is rare in jazz today. The esthetics and the level of expression in his music makes him a musician, which the Finnish jazz scene should be extremely proud of” KESKISUOMALAINEN, SAVON SANOMAT 5/5 (FI)

“Amorandom, the pianist Aki Rissanen’s album seems to be the piano jazz album of the year- if not THE jazz album of the year” KARJALAINEN 5/5 (FI)

“Amorandom, the album by Aki Rissanen is again an evidence that Finland belongs to the front row in jazz” SOUNDI 4/5 (FI)

“The listener has always the impression of a forward motion. Aki Rissanen and his fellow musicians convince with a very varied playing with unexpected suspense.“ JAZZ HALO (BE)

“Phenomenal playing… One of the most interesting debuts of the decade!” MULTIKULTI (PL)

“The pianist with prodigious technique is never intrusive but constantly seeking the complicity of his fellow travelers, giving us an engaging drive. He’s a new talent to love unconditionally!” ARGONAUTA MAGAZINE (IT)

“Aki Rissanen Trio’s album is a Finnish jazz classic” ILKKA, POHJALAINEN 5/5 (FI)

“The music flows effortlessly like solving a mathematical puzzle. One never gets tired with Amorandom”  SATAKUNNAN KANSA 5/5 (FI)

“The music on Amorandom is personal and well thought-out and worth several listenings.” HUFVUDSTADSBLADET (FI)

“The trio confirms its place among the  most significant piano trios… Multi-dimensional album without weak parts” VALONKUVIA 4/5 (FI)

“Absolutely fantastic album. The trio’s interplay allures us to listen to the album over and over again. This is Rissanen’s chance to breakthrough internationally… Amorandom is a mature and multi-faceted album, where the personalities of three experienced musicians come out very well complimenting each other”  JAZZRYTMIT, JAZZPOSSU (FI)

“Truly top album!”  SALON SEUDUN SANOMAT (FI)

“For brain and heart- Rissanen’s canny music is rooted in the piano trio tradition but is nevertheless forward-looking. It’s a rich and rewarding sea of sounds that certainly activates the gray matter.” FINNISH MUSIC QUARTERLY (FI)

“The music is consistently direct and the tones are tight and up close, as if the microphones have dropped into the instruments and barred most of the room. It provides edginess, on what the suggestive power of minimalism, after all, is based.” LIRA (SE)

“The Finnish pianist Aki Rissanen has in recent years emerged as one of the most influential pianists in the Finnish jazz scene…”Amorandom” is a nice trio piano disk, and the three musicians with this have made the journey out into the wider world.” SALT PEANUTS (NO)

“Broodingly subtle piano trio!” LONDON JAZZ NEWS (UK)

Aki Rissanen Trio gave one of the standout performances of the Jazz Finland Festival, with pianist Rissanen’s atmospheric compositions linked to the wall-sized animations from the movie Amorandom. The music was structurally sparse yet grooving, with bassist Antti Lötjönen’s lithe ostinatos and inventive drummer Teppo Mäkynen’s gently coursing pulses the perfect foil to Rissanen’s less-is-more lyricism.” ALL ABOUT JAZZ (UK)

“I really hope this album is a platform for Rissanen and his trio because they are doing really cutting-edge and more importantly enjoyable music. It keeps one engaged in every turn. Definitely a must buy!”  SLICE OF JAZZ, RADIO CARDIFF (UK)


What the Critics Said about Aki Rissanen // Jussi Lehtonen Quartet with Dave Liebman:

»Hier haben sich vier Könner des zeitgenössischen Jazz zusammengefunden, die auf einer Wellenlänge funken. (…) Und die grooven und swingen, dass es einfach eine Freude macht zuzuhören.« (Jazzthing, Februar / März 2015)

Fono Forum 3/2015, Germany, 4 stars
Rondo 4/15, Germany, 4 stars
InHard magazine 3/15, Germany, 5 stars.
“Record of the year” according to Kauppalehti magazine, Aug 20th 2014. 5 stars
“This is Finnish jazz history” according to Voima magazine, Aug 2014 . 5 stars

Kahdessa päivässä Pasilan M1-studiossa taltioitu Aki Rissanen Jussi Lehtonen Quartet with Dave Liebman on työvoitto. Se on samalla ensimmäinen kolmesta levystä, jotka Rissanen tekee saksalaiselle Ozella Musicille. Kvartetin vetäjiksi merkityt Rissanen ja Lehtonen ovat tehneet tahoillaan omia levyjä ja soittaneet monissa kokoonpanoissa, mutta erilaisiin tyyleihin suuntautuneina. Tämä yhtye on heidän ensimmäisiä varsinaisia kohtaamisiaan ja hätyyttelee ehkäpä molempia myös mukavuusalueiltaan: pianisti Rissasta eurooppalaisesta jazzista ja rumpali Lehtosta amerikkalaisesta jazzista – jos karkeasti yleistetään. Toisiaan täydentävät lähestymistavat ovat osa albumin vääntövoimaa – Rissasen Scriabinista Lehtosen In the Corneriin, joissa molemmissa Liebman sytyttää musiikin väkevillä, vaivattoman vuolaasti virtaavalla sooloilla. Mukavaa on, että hän soittaa pääsoittimekseen valikoituneen sopraanosaksofonin rinnalla taas tasaveroisesti tenorisaksofonia. Liebmanin oma sävellyksellinen panos on monipuolista kokonaisuutta tasaannuttava ja täydentävä” Harri Uusitorppa, Helsingin Sanomat, 6.8.2014


What the Critics Said about Aleatoric:

The trio’s blend of chamber jazz lyricism and improvisatory rigour is an effective mix that fully engages the listener. Highly recommended.” **** stars. The Jazzmann/ Ian Mann, Nov 1st 2013, UK

There’s space and mood to spare in Finnish pianist’s mix of composition and improv- the focus is on the strong moods and stark settings conjured by the leader” Financial Times/ Mike Hobart, Nov 1st 2013, UK

Pianist Aki Rissanen is exceptional in his touch, improvisation, technique and empathy with drummer Markku Ounaskari – who exhibits great taste and imagination – and Belgian tenor and soprano saxophonist Robin Verheyen. I recommend this CD” London Jazz News/ Eric Ford, Jan 19 2014, UK