Kokko Quartet plays recognizably Scandinavian jazz but draws influences from different musical traditions such as Indian, Arabic and Cuban, thus creating a distinctive overall sound. Established in 2010 and led by pianist Johanna Pitkänen, this Helsinki-based group performs songs written by Pitkänen, saxophone player Kaisa Siirala and bass player Timo Tuppurainen. Together with drummer Risto Takala, the four musicians move through the music with a spirit of great freedom in their interplay. The quartet’s debut album Like a River was released in March 2013. On the album the quartet is joined by two guest musicians, Ricardo Padilla on percussion and Mikko Koivisto on tabla drums on the title track.
Johanna Pitkänen is a pianist and composer who is interested in jazz and world music. She has played with groups performing Arabic and Afro-Cuban music as well as Flamenco. She has performed at festivals in Finland and in Estonia.The majority of Kokko Quartet’s music is written by Pitkänen.
Saxophone player Kaisa Siirala is interested in free expression and the different sound possibilities of wind instruments. She is inspired for example by Indian Hindustani music and Cuban rhythms. Siirala has played with many different groups ranging from trios to Big Bands. She has toured in India, Japan, Peru, Namibia and South Africa and in numerous countries in Europe.
Timo Tuppurainen is a bass player who has played with several groups including U-Street All Stars and Hemma Beast. He has toured in USA, India, Russia and many times in Europe. Tuppurainen has also written music for different groups, Kokko Quartet and Antti Utriainen Trio among others.
Risto Takala is a drummer who has played with many Finnish bands representing different musical genres from pop to jazz. In his playing Takala combines different elements thus creating his own sound.