Edward Vesala

Martti Vesala was born 15 February 1945 in Mantyharju (Finland), and died 4 December 1999 in Helsinki, Finland. Vesala, the drummer-composer and most prominent Finnish jazz musician of his time, didn’t start playing until he turned 20. He grew up in the Finnish forest and only had access to music through the dancehalls in nearby villages that offered Nordic tango. After playing in country dances for a while, he moved quickly through psychedelic rock, free jazz and then checked into Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy to learn orchestration. He was not satisfied with his results after one year. In the 1970s, he traveled through Asia, picking up instruments and learning local music in India and Java. He formed a brief co-operative trio in 1972 with Jan Garbarek (Triptykon) and Arild Andersen. In 1975, he co-led a more compatible quartet with Tomasz Stanko. Vesala was now able to clearly define his compositional style. His work was dominated by melody and emotion, with complex melodies and emotions. Sound And Fury was formed in 1985 by Vesala from one of his workshops groups. It quickly became one of Europe’s most admired ensembles with its young, disciplined musicians who were totally dedicated to Vesala’s visions. While many of his albums were released on ECM Records (not to be mistaken with London-based Leo Records), Vesala also owned his own label, Leo, which featured his sessions with European and – most notably – American guests musicians. In the late 80s, he recorded Lumi and Ode To The Death Of Jazz. Vesala suffered from ill health over the next decade, but he kept his musical vision alive until December 1999 when he died from complications from heart failure.

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