Verneri Pohjola Quartet “Monkey Mind”

Verneri Pohjola – trumpet
Kirke Karja - piano 
Jasper Høiby – double bass
Olavi Louhivuori – drums 

"He plays ideas you've never heard before" are the words Thomas Konrad used to describe the music of trumpeter Verneri Pohjola (Helsinki, 1977) in JazzTimes magazine. Undoubtedly, he is the leading figure of Finnish jazz, an artist who - like Miles Davis - crosses post-bap with fusion, and has an exceptional sense of melody and space, balancing lush color and dynamics, warmth and vibrancy, freedom and composed structures.

He grew up in a musical family (a dozen musicians over several generations), his father, Pekka, achieved international fame in the 1970s. On the scene since the early 2000s, the trumpeter performed with notable results in various ensembles (Quintessence, Suhkan Uhka, Ilmiliekki Quartet), before making his recording debut under his own name with the album Aurora (Texicalli, 2009), immediately winning the EMMA award (the Finnish equivalent of the Grammy) as the jazz album of the year. The ACT label reissued the album, for which he recorded his second album Ancient History (2012).

Under the wing of the ambitious Edition Records, Verneri's career continued to flourish. The album Bullhorn (2015) brought him another EMMA award, followed by Pekka (2017), Animal Image (2018) and The Dead Don't Dream (2020). In 2017, he received the highest Finnish recognition for jazz artists, the Yrjö Award, and in 2021, he was nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize. The new concert quartet consists of prominent leaders from the contemporary scene: Kirke Karja (piano, Estonia), Jasper Høiby (bass, Denmark) and Olavi Louhivuori (drums, Finland). Their Belgrade concert will take place just before the release of Pohjola's new album Monkey Mind, also for Edition Records.