Photo: Jari Kivelä
Iiro Rantala is “a natural phenomenon on keys” (German jazz magazine Jazzthing); an all-rounder of whom New York-based pianist and arranger Gil Goldstein quite rightly said: “Iiro Rantala is a pianistic sensation who makes the strongest case I know to believe in reincarnation, because his pianistic technique and musical sensitivity speak of depths that appear impossible to have been achieved in this lifetime alone”.
Up to now, Rantala was mainly associated with the Trio Töykeät, one of the weirdest, funniest and most visionary piano trios in international jazz. He sounded out all the possibilities of this formation: sometimes playing the energetic lion on keys, sometimes the sensitive romantic or the burlesque clown. His playing blasted away all stylistic boundaries and was as uncompromised as it was entertaining, but kept together by a magical triangle: his boundless technical ability and his unmistakable senses of humor and style. Rantala preserved his unique skills for his solo career when Töykeät broke up in 2006 after playing together for 18 years.
His solo career kicked off with his 2011 ACT debut “Lost Heroes”. It represents his very personal homage to all the outstanding musicians in history he is inspired by. Alongside with famous jazz musicians like Esbjörn Svensson, Oscar Peterson, Bill Evans or Jaco Pastorius, he also dedicates tunes to opera singer Luciano Pavarotti or composer Jean Sibelius. Rantala avoids every sentimentality in favour of a real act of admiration and completely remains himself: one of the most competent pianists in Scandinavian jazz. The album was celebrated as on the best piano solo recordings in recent times. German newspaper “Süddeutsche Zeitung” called it a “masterpiece”. The album also won the prestigious German Critic’s award as “Jazz album of the year 2011”. In June 2012 Rantala received the ECHO Jazz (German Grammy) for Best International Pianist. Rantala’s new album “My History of Jazz” present his very personal view of jazz history and the role of the piano in it. The album was recorded with Lars Danielsson (bass), Morten Lund (drums) and Adam Baldych (violin).