Verneri Pohjola has established a reputation as one of Finland's leading -- and busiest -- jazz musicians, but music is in his blood, as he's the son of Pekka Pohjola, one of the country's most adventurous bass players who came of age in the prog rock era of the 1970s.
Born in Helsinki, Pohjola grew up on movie soundtracks and rock playing "a little bit of everything" before settling mostly on trumpet in a school orchestra. His brother introduced him to jazz, which has become his main love. He does still play piano and drums "to fend off boredom." He's active in five bands, Quintessence, the Don Johnson Big Band, Silvio, Q-Continuum, and his main outlet, the Ilmielikki Quartet, of which he's the leader. The last of these groups came together in 2002 and released its first album, March of the Alpha Males, which received a nomination for an Emma -- the Finnish Grammy -- as Best Jazz Album in 2003. The following year Pohjola was chosen Pori Jazz Festival Young Artist, when he also won Musician of the Year and Best Trumpet Player in a poll of Finnish jazz critics. The band has released a second album, Take It with Me. With Silvio, Pohjola has appeared on Amass All You Can and the EP Silvio, while Quintessence has issued Talk Less Listen More and 5 AM. Under his own name he's released Agatha. ~ Chris Nickson, Rovi