Friday, September 17th, 16:45, Fotografiska

There is no doubt that the three musketeers are exactly what they need to be: musicians willing to push the limits, searching for new ways to express themselves and taking risks in the hope of reaching an orgasmic state where everything in this world seems right. All this also goes for Jan Kaus, writer and translator, author of novels and poems, articles and essays, and in recent years a performing artist and actor. Together with double bassist, composer and performer Mingo Rajandi they have been experimenting with cross-disciplinary art for some years already, combining music with word, mostly performing at literature festivals and poetry slams. 

With a background in theatre and music studies, Mingo Rajandi has walked on the borderlines of performative art, theatre and other disciplines for some years now. She has created large stage productions, working with actors, dancers, visual artists etc. Her musical practice includes composing for orchestra, chamber ensembles or her own bands and also playing free improvised music. Since the beginning of her musical journey she has worked with the drummer and producer Ahto Abner, one the most esteemed musicians in Estonia, greatly sought after both as a live partner and recording musician. His refined musical taste and fearless attitude make him a perfect musician for free improvisation.

Ekke Västrik is a true electronic music freak who builds his own modular synthesisers and always surprises the audience with new sounds. His sense of humour, which he also brings to music, is an essential part of the performances of The Free Musketeers.

Jan Kaus – vocals
Mingo Rajandi – double bass
Ahto Abner – drums
Ekke Västrik – electronics


Friday, September 17th, 17:15, Vaba Lava

Praised as one of the most unique-sounding vocal ensembles from Europe, the award-winning a cappella vocal sextet Estonian Voices fuses playfulness with absolute technical mastery, bound together with a cheeky smile and a charming sprinkle of vocal artistry. Their vibrant repertoire includes both original and arranged works of jazz with influences from classical, pop and folk music. Their albums of 2015 and 2018 were awarded Best Jazz Album of the Year.

Estonian Voices has performed not only in Estonia, but also in Germany, Russia, Sweden, Switzerland, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the UK and China. They have collaborated with the Estonian Dream Big Band, jazz vocalist Datevik Hovanesian and former M-pact artistic director Britt Quentin among others. They also performed with New York Voices in 2013 and with Take 6 in 2016. Estonian Voices released their first album Ole hea (Be kind) in 2014, which won the Jazz Album of the Year at the 2015 Estonian Music Awards. In 2016 they were awarded Best Jazz Artist in Estonia. In summer 2018 they released their second album mainly influenced by Estonian folk music, Taat läks lolliks (An old man lost his marbles), which won the Jazz Album of the Year in 2018.

Kadri Voorand – vocals (alto)
Mirjam Dede – vocals (soprano)
Maria Väli – vocals (soprano)
Mikk Dede – vocals (tenor)
Rasmus Erismaa – vocal (baritone)
Aare Külama – vocal (bass)


Friday, September 17th, 21:30, Vaba Lava
Schumann / Randalu,

The Dichterliebe song cycle, Op. 48 (1840), might be Robert Schumann’s most celebrated cycle of Lieder and constitutes part of the central core of the genre in musical literature. Based on German poet Heinrich Heine’s Lyrisches Intermezzo, a 65-poems spanning collection first published in 1823, Dichterliebe in a way even represents the epitome of romantic poetry set to music. Founded in a broad understanding for classical piano tradition, Kristjan Randalu’s variations of the song cycle provide a strictly contemporary vision that elaborates on Schumann’s romantic notions with impressionist design, vast improvisational liberties and the spontaneity and harmonic breadth of jazz.

Randalu belongs to the most sought-after pianists of his generation, carrying the torch in both the improvised world of jazz and the traditional realm of classical music. Between creating his own original blend of contemporary jazz as a leader and collaborating with several generations of respected musicians, from the likes of fellow ECM recording artist Trygve Seim to saxophonist David Liebman, Randalu has brought his music to some of the world’s most renowned jazz festivals and concert halls.


Friday, September 17th, 22:00, Fotografiska

Estonian guitarist Jaak Sooäär, Armenian-Estonian double bassist Ara Yaralyan and Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari established a trio in spring 2016. Since then they have performed in Germany, Switzerland, Italy, Estonia and Finland. With their main focus on melody, the trio’s repertoire also includes Armenian music and improvisations on themes by J.S. Bach. In a sense, they can be called a piano trio without a piano, where guitar takes the wide-ranging “orchestral” role of the piano. The trio released their debut album A Shooting Star in October 2018 and their second album Goodbye July in October 2020, both under the German label O-Tone Music.

Jaak Sooäär is one of the most active jazz musicians of the Baltic countries, who has performed with Ray Anderson, Anders Jormin, Han Bennink, Will Calhoun, Dave Liebman and Vladimir Tarasov among others. Ara Yaralyan is known as a member of the Kari Ikonen Trio and has also collaborated with Ingrid Jensen, Vardan Ovsepian and Verneri Pohjola among others. Markku Ounaskari regularly collaborates with artists such as Arve Henriksen, Anders Jormin, Nils Petter Molvaer, Trygve Seim, Markus Stockhausen, Tore Brunborg, Mats Eilertsen and Lena Willemark and also appears on several ECM albums.

Jaak Sooäär – guitar
Ara Yaralyan – double bass
Markku Ounaskari – drums


Friday, September 17th, 22:30, Fotografiska

At the end of 2020, Joel Remmel Trio and Aleksander Paal released their joint EP, Sügis (Autumn). Their productive collaboration has also continued on the trio’s latest full-length studio album, Kevad (Spring). Both albums mainly feature Joel Remmel’s original work, which is fresh and diverse. Both albums feature rhythmic and technically challenging material, spanning from lively improvisations and soft grooves to fresh-sounding ballads.

Joel Remmel (1989) belongs to the best of the younger generation of Estonian jazz pianists. For the past nine years he has led his instrumental ensemble, Joel Remmel Trio, with Heikko Remmel on double bass and Ramuel Tafenau on drums. Over the years, Joel has been associated with various projects in the Estonian jazz and pop music scene and in 2011 he received The Young Jazz Talent award from Jazzkaar Festival. He draws his musical inspiration from jazz legends like Herbie Hancock, Brad Mehldau and Keith Jarrett, but also from sacred music – from church corals to modern gospel music.

Aleksander Paal is a brilliant younger generation jazz saxophonist and composer in an emerging vanguard of exciting young musicians from the Baltic countries. He has participated in numerous local saxophone competitions in both classical and jazz disciplines, and won several of them. Paal studied jazz music at the Estonian Academy of Music and Theatre and the University of Music Franz Liszt Weimar and has become a sought-after improviser both in jazz and contemporary music circles. A versatile player, one of his strengths is his ability to comfortably accommodate different styles of music.


Saturday, September 18th, 10:00, Fotografiska

Ramuel Tafenau Quintet
will take the listener to a musical journey, featuring original compositions from their debut album Gather Around (2019) which is mainly influenced by Pat Metheny, Bob Reynolds, Antonio Sanchez and Janek Gwizdala. Airy compositions, beautiful and catchy melodies, dynamics and skilful instrument playing are just a few of the keywords that describe the quintet’s stage presence. Ramuel Tafenau has invited his good friends and possibly the most engaged Estonian jazz musicians to play in his group – Joel-Rasmus Remmel on keyboards, Kalle Pilli on guitars, Mihkel Mälgand on bass and Allan Järve on flugelhorn.

Joel Remmel – keyboards
Kalle Pilli – guitar
Allan Järve – flugelhorn
Mihkel Mälgand – bass
Ramuel Tafenau – drums


Saturday, September 18th, 11:45, Vaba Lava

Estonian composer Veljo Tormis (1930–2017) was one of the main choral composers of the 20th century in Europe. The majority of his works are based on ancient Estonian folk songs. Singer Kadri Voorand and guitarist Jaak Sooäär have sung songs by him in choirs since early age and have always loved his music. As a part of the celebration of the 85th birthday of Veljo Tormis, Jazzkaar Festival proposed a concert consisting of his music in a jazzy context for which Voorand and Sooäär were joined by singer Liisi Koikson and guitarist Paul Daniel. The four musicians later decided to continue as a group and have since performed at all main folk and jazz festivals in Estonia, but also in the UK, Israel, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, Slovakia and Finland. In spring 2018 the quartet released their debut album Tormisele / Hommage To Veljo Tormis under the German label Nordic Notes. The quartet also received the Etnokulp folk music award as the best newcomer in 2016.

Kadri Voorand – vocals
Liisi Koikson – vocals
Jaak Sooäär – guitar
Paul Daniel – guitar


Saturday, September 18th, 16:15, Fotografiska

Initiated in early 2007, UMA is the duo project of two Estonian musicians – guitarist Robert Jürjendal and trumpet / corno da caccia player Aleksei Saks. The name UMA comes from the South Estonian Seto dialect and means “one’s own.” 

Both musicians are classically trained and mix purely produced sound with live electronics, creating a meditative float somewhere between new age, ambient, electronica and the subtle, cool tones of ECM-style jazz. Besides the numerous studio projects UMA have been involved in, their musical journey also includes live performances at Tallinn Music Week, Viljandi Guitar Festival, Jazzkaar, London Jazz Festival, Matsalu Nature Film Festival, Spiegel im Spiegel festival in Moscow, a concert for the King and Queen of Sweden, hosted by the President of Estonia in Stockholm, as well as concerts in St. Petersburg, Vilnius, Brussel, Paris and Athens etc.

The duo has released four albums: Civitas Soli (2008; produced by Markus Reuter and mixed and mastered by the noted American ambient artist, Robert Rich), Hymn To Undiscovered Land (2010; produced by Andi Pupato and Andreas Vollenweider), Meeting Unknown (2012) and Peidus Pool (2013) with the outstanding classical singer Iris Oja. In 2021 UMA signed a contract with Myndstream (USA). Their new album, Wishing Well featuring the Finnish drummer Markku Ounaskari is to be released in 2021.

Robert Jürjendal – guitar
Aleksei Saks – trumpet, corno da caccia
Ahto Abner - drums


Saturday, September 18th, 16:45, Vaba Lava

Kadri Voorand
is a charismatic singer, composer, pianist and improviser who creates music through strong emotional storytelling, combining catchy rhythms with a completely unique way of blending improvisational pop, jazz and folk elements. Having released her latest album under the legendary label ACT, Kadri has already received much acclaim both in Estonia and abroad, including Best Female Artist at the Estonian Music Awards as well as Best Jazz Album for several of her albums. 

Award-winning bassist Mihkel Mälgand is among the most active jazz musicians Estonia. He has collaborated with jazz stars like Kurt Elling, Nils Landgren, Dave Liebman etc. Mälgand also appears as an arranger and occasional co-writer on the Voorand’s latest album, In Duo with Mihkel Mälgand. The pop-like melodies of this tight-knit duo are combined with virtuosic improvisations and skilled technique. They perform heart-wrenching power ballads as well as hip grooves with a unique sound and bold, unexpected lyrics. 

The duo has performed in Estonia and elsewhere, including festivals such as EFG London Jazz Festival, Cheltenham Jazz Festival, Pori Jazz, Jazz Baltica, Tampere Jazz Happening, Marburg City Festival, Südtirol Jazz Festival and Bejing Nine Gates Jazz Festival.

Kadri Voorand – vocals, piano, electronics
Mihkel Mälgand – double bass, bass guitar


Saturday, September 18th, 21:30 at Vaba Lava

Karja / Renard / Wandinger
is a brand new international trio focusing on experimental improvised music. The three musicians started playing together in 2019 and in summer 2021 they will release their dynamic debut album.

The trio is lead by the award-winning brilliant Estonian jazz pianist Kirke Karja. Together with French bassist Etienne Renard and German drummer Ludwig Wandinger they focus on extended techniques, elements from free improvisation and contemporary composition. The trio gets their inspiration from artists like Peter Evans, Christian Lillinger, Petter Eldh, John Cage, old creepy silent films and broken machines.

Kirke Karja – piano
Ludwig Wandinger – drums
Etienne Renard – double bass


Saturday, September 18th, 22:00, Fotografiska

Estonian singer, composer and lyricist Susanna Aleksandra keeps her audience enchanted with her effortless and easily approachable performances which combines the influences of traditional jazz, classical music, pop and folk and that together could be described as modern jazz. She started collaborating with Finnish pianist Joonas Haavisto in 2018. They share a common vision in giving music multiple layers by uniting complex harmonies and forms with meaningful lyrics and strong melodies.

The quartet’s album Souls of the Night was released in Japan in March 2020 (Blue Gleam), and under the name The Siren in Finland 2021 (Eclipse Music). The critically acclaimed album has received praise from all around the globe. It was also listed among the albums of the month on Jazzwise and European Jazz Network, and was listed among Albums of the Year by the Japanese magazine Jazz Critique.

Susanna Aleksandra – vocals
Joonas Haavisto – piano
Joonas Tuuri – bass
Ville Pynssi – drums


Saturday, September 18th, 22:30, Vaba Lava

Peedu Kass Momentum
is a bassist-led piano trio with an adventurous repertoire and spirited stage presence. Audacious rhythms, sparkling virtuosity, and sophisticated compositions are key to the group’s immediate, visceral appeal. The trio was the first Estonian group to perform at the world’s biggest jazz trade fair, Jazzahead! in Bremen, Germany. They have appeared twice at the London Jazz Festival as well as throughout continental Europe and on stages in Japan, Canada, and Australia. Momentum won the Jazz Ensemble of the Year at the annual Jazzkaar festival (Estonia) and was nominated for Jazz Album of the Year at the 2017 Estonian Music Awards.

Leader Peedu Kass is a sought-after bassist on the European jazz scene, as well as a versatile, genre-hopping musician whose talents have been engaged in varied contexts around the world. Seamus Blake, Django Bates, Tony Allen, Marilyn Mazur, and Tõnu Kaljuste are just a few of the artists he has worked with. Kass composes most of the group’s all-original book, with contributions from his bandmates.

The pianist in the group is the brilliant Kristjan Randalu, an ECM artist and the leading ambassador of Estonian jazz in the West. He performs regularly with jazz giants like Ben Monder, Ari Hoenig, Nguyen Le, Dhafer Youssef and Trygve Seim. Randalu brings dazzling virtuosity and rhythmic intensity to the trio. The newest member of the group is Kaspars Kurdeko who is the bedrock of Latvian jazz drumming. A keenly sensitive listener, he enhances any group’s sound. He is continually in demand as a collaborator on stage and in the studio.

The trio‘s self-titled debut album was released in April 2016. A twelve-inch vinyl LP followed in 2018, and the recording was released in Japan by Studio Songs in November 2018.

Peedu Kass – double bass
Kristjan Randalu – piano
Kaspars Kurdeko – drums