Jukka Perko



Saxophonist Jukka Perko (born 1968) was only a teenager when he played his way into the hearts of audiences in Pori Jazz 1986. The following year he received an invitation to join the ranks of Dizzy Gillespie's 70th Anniversary Big Band on tour. Perko had previously only played with local musicians at countryside dances; he bought his first saxophone at the age of 14, with the money he made working at a chicken farm. By 24 he and his saxophone had performed in over 30 countries. Young Jukka Perko dreamed of becoming a drummer, and his music still largely stems from rhythm. The undercurrent of Perko's music flows with jazz, but in search of the natural expression of his art he has dug deeper into his Finnish roots. In his hands the typical free flow and desire for freedom of jazz fuse with the familiar harmony of hymns and Finnish schlager. Music of Olavi Virta (2000) by Jukka Perko & Hurmio-orkesteri was the first Finnish record released on Blue Note, arguably the most important jazz label in the world, putting Perko in the same league with the much-admired Charlie Parker. Kaanaanmaa (2002), recorded with chamber orchestra Virtuosi di Kuhmo, gave new insights into Finnish national identity and traditional hymns. These days Jukka Perko plays hymns in a trio of two guitars and one saxophone and traditional bebop with his Streamline Jazztet. Besides making music, Perko serves as Artistic Director of Viapori Jazz festival in Helsinki. For Jukka Perko, music is existence. He learned to play as he learned to speak, by listening and mimicking. Perko approaches music from silence quiet and describes his attitude towards playing and composing as balancing between perfectionism and coming to terms with incompleteness. That is perhaps the reason why his notes ring with what some might call grace.

Tags Spiritual Jazz/Sacred Jazz