The 40th international Tampere Jazz Happening will be organized at the Tullikamari’s Pakkahuone, Klubi, as well as restaurant Telakka venues between 4th and 7th November 2021. During four days, altogether 23 ensembles will perform at the festival, including the winner of this year’s Yrjö Award, who will be performing in conjunction with the award ceremony that takes place at the festival. This anniversary year’s festival program includes artists such as John Scofield & Dave Holland, Lakecia Benjamin, and Pepe Willberg & Jukka Eskola Statement.
On Thursday 4th November, in the festival’s opening concert, titled Spotlight on Belgium, the Klubi stage will feature concerts by three rising Belgian jazz ensembles, namely Echoes of Zoo, Esinam, and Dans Dans. As usual, the opening concert of the festival is free of charge for the audience.
Friday’s programme at Pakkahuone will begin with the Yrjö Award ceremony, which is the most prestigious prize given to jazz musicians in Finland by the Jazz Finland organisation. Following the award ceremony, the evening’s audience will be treated to a performance by the winner of the award. From then on, the event will continue with Finnish ensembles: first, a performance by Linda Fredriksson, which celebrates and marks the release of her latest album, Juniper; then, a concert by Pepe Willberg & Jukka Eskola Statement, which focuses on the compositions of Otto Donner (1939–2013). The final performer of the evening will be Egyptian-Belgian singer Natacha Atlas.
The event at Telakka on Friday will be opened by saxophonist and flutist Jorma Tapio together with his trio, Kaski. Tapio performs at the Tampere Jazz Happening with his own ensemble now for the seventh time, the first occasion being in the very first Jazz Happening in 1982. The second performer of the evening is Tomi Nikku 5tet, whose first album Light & Shade was released in September. At midnight, the stage will be filled by Dub Vallila’s eight musicians.
On Saturday, two events will be organized at Pakkahuone, with three international ensembles in each. The afternoon’s first performer is the Bahrainian-British trumpeter Yazz Ahmed. After her, the festival audiences will be charmed by Italian soprano saxophonist Roberto Ottaviano and his quintet, Eternal Love. The daytime concert’s final performance will be by the ensemble New Brazilian Funk, gathered together by Norwegian drummer Paal Nilssen-Love.
During the Pakkahuone evening events, we will hear some more rare instruments, when Moroccan Majid Bekkas brings to the stage his oud and guembri. All the other musicians in Bekkas’ Magic Spirit Quartet are from the Nordic countries, so the listeners can expect to experience an encounter of the North African and the Scandinavian traditions. The second performer of the evening is Sylvie Courvoisier Trio, who charmed last year with their album Free Hoops. Saturday’s concerts will culminate in the performance by American saxophonist Lakecia Benjamin.
At the same time in Telakka, the events will focus on Finnish jazz. Just like Jorma Tapio, Raoul Björkenheim also performed at the very first Tampere Jazz Happening, as well as on various occasions at the festival throughout the years. This time, Björkenheim arrives at Tampere with his ensemble Sonic Decode. Following their performance, the audience will be enchanted by the Iro Haarla Electric Ensemble and their debut album release concert of What Will We Leave Behind – Images from Planet Earth (2021). In the late evening, we will hear the quintet Reignition, assembled by Kasperi Sarikoski and including five musicians from altogether four different countries.
The final festival day on Sunday will be opened by British pianist Alexander Hawkins. Afterward, in the afternoon event, we will hear the Israeli trio Shalosh, who will perform together with their guest soloist, soprano saxophonist and singer Daniel Zamir. The Pakkahuone celebrations will culminate in the rare duo performance by two iconic jazz legends, guitarist John Scofield and bassist Dave Holland.
The ending event of the Tampere Jazz Happening returns to the Belgian theme. Piano trio De Beren Gieren’s electro-acoustic concert is free of charge for the audience.