Ben Wendel – Dan Tepfer Duo may even pack the kitchen sink for their gig at Turku Jazz.

HANG on to your trumpets and get ready for yet another explosive celebration of jazz this March, as one of Finland’s oldest international jazz festivals, Turku Jazz, glides into its 44th year. The hub of Finland’s youth culture in the late ‘60s, and during a time of strong rhythmic jazz vibes, Turku gave birth to this long standing institution that has had jazz artists and enthusiasts gathering from all over the world ever since, and from here has seen the formation of the Turku Jazz Society in 1970. Ever growing in prestige and stature, the festival has witnessed many stylistic changes and developments within its music genre, and promises yet another trendy and eclectic offering in 2013.

Highly billed is the Danish jazz singer/ songwriter sensation, Mette Juul. Gaining much admiration from her previous performances in Finland her warm, clear sound range makes for stunning easy listening, and her personal interpretations of works by the likes of Joni Mitchell and Cole Porter demonstrate her versatility of talent.

Finnish continental rhythm orchestra, Aninkaisten Melody, will be taking to the stage with their twist on classic ‘20s jazz mixed with a hint of modern dance and popular music influence. On the Logomo main stage you can see the Turku Jazz Orchestra playing Nat King Cole, featuring Pepe Willberg, in which 20 songs from Cole’s back catalogue will be showcased, and quartet symphony Liberty Ship contribute their spontaneous free jazz and ambient sound collages to the festival.

Turku Jazz 2013
14-17 March

As well as group performers, there are a host of dynamic duo’s set to make their appearance. From the USA, Ben Wendel – Dan Tepfer Duo will be venting their passion for the art of improvisation, combining sounds of classical influence with rock and electronic musical styles. For something more serene, piano and vocal duo Jukkis Uotila and Johanna Hollmén will seduce you with their breathtaking piano arrangements and Hollmén’s rare contralto vocal range. Then, at the other end of the scale, something a bit different to get your feet tapping is Two Men Galaxy with their drums and organ cacophony.

So, if jazz is your thing then Turku is definitely the place to be in March. Some events are free entry and can be enjoyed in relaxing intimate settings, while others take the more formal concert format in larger venues, with Logomo hosting the jazz extravaganza on the Saturday evening. The huge program of concerts and diversity of performances, this article naming only a few, should urge you to check out the line up and make sure you have your tickets in time.

Beth Morton