Savolainen, Panu

Jazz Vibraphone, Finland

Vibraphonist Panu Savolainen (b. 1990) ranks among the top prospects in the Finnish jazz scene. Despite his young age, Savolainen has already gained attention especially with his own combo HERD, which won the first prize of the European Jazz Competition presented by Rotterdam’s North Sea Jazz Festival in 2011. Another noteworthy early accolade for Savolainen was the ”Artist of the Year” selection by Finland’s premiere jazz fest, Pori Jazz, in 2010.

Savolainen’s mentors include David Friedman, Rob Waring, Jukkis Uotila, Tim Hagans and Dave Samuels, and collaborations the likes of Bobby Hutcherson, Cedar Walton and Peter Erskine. He has studied at the Jazz Department of the Sibelius Academy in Helsinki and at the Jazz Institute Berlin in Germany. What makes Savolainen a unique jazz player is his background in classical percussion. That being said, his playing is a fresh combination of no-nonsense swing and technical finesse, always serving the music at hand.

At the moment Savolainen is working with HERD and vocalist Aili Ikonen “Jazzbasilli” project offering new arrangements for the all-time favorites of the golden age of the Finnish jazz. In addition, he is the primus motor of the popular HERD club hosting a different guest musician each month.

Panu Savolainen has quickly secured a steady foothold in the active jazz circles thanks to his knack at effortlessly inserting his personal style of playing and ability to bring out a wide palette of colors from his instrument in order to paint a sonic picture into the given setting. Remarkable for any artist, let alone for one with most of his memorable playing still ahead.