Jukka Eskola, photo Miikka Pirinen

Not to be totally eclipsed by Tampere and its burly November jazz festival, Helsinki sees nearly a week of concerts promoted by the Wejazz collective during mid December.

This series of gigs is spread through the whole of the second week of the month, kicking off on Monday 9 December with the heady combination of classic American drummer Andrew Cyrille and free-jazz saxophonist Mikko Innanen at the Alexander Theatre, the old Opera House on Boulevardi. Even on this first night the bill is well stocked, including another American, Greg Osby, and his Swiss trio VEIN, the six-piece Jukka Eskola Orkestra Bossa with the Proton Quartet guesting, and an opener from veteran Finnish performance artist and poet M.A.Numminen.

Other venues include Koko Jazz Club and Kuudes Linja, just up Hämeentie a way, Savoy Theatre and even Tavastia Club, where a children’s afternoon program precedes the two final Saturday headline concerts: Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko with his Finno-Danish Quintet as well as two supporting acts at the Savoy, and the late night DJ-hosted rave at Kuudes Linja Club featuring Dalindeo along with the Hammond/drum duo of Kahden Miehen Galaksi.

We Jazz 2013
9-14 December
Mopo, photo Stiina Koistinen

But equally as interesting among the other mid-week concerts are two played at unconventional venues, both on Wednesday 11 December: in Andorra Cinema on Eerikinkatu the London-lauded, trance-jazz quintet Oddarrang play their latest release In Cinema with accompanying visuals, and at Dubrovik Timo Lassy plays with his quintet and American singer Joyce Elaine Yuille.

What a week!

James O’Sullivan