Iro Haarla, born in 1956, studied piano and composition at Helsinki’s Sibelius Academy and jazz and improvising with Heikki Sarmanto. Early jazz role models included Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and especially Paul Bley whose “silence and dissonance” was influential. On harp, Haarla is self-taught. After dedicating herself exclusively to the music of Edward Vesala for two decades, she began to record and perform in other contexts. A duo with saxophonist Pepa Päivenmen was followed by a further duo with bassist Uffe Krokfors. Haarla and Krokfors co-lead the nine-piece band Loco Motife. Iro has, furthermore, composed music for the UMO Jazz Orchestra (in 2002 for Tomasz Stanko as soloist, and in 2006 for a “UMO plays Haarla” event in Helsinki and for a suite of pieces premiered in Tampere). In 2008, at the instigation of Manfred Eicher, she premiered new music for string quartet and piano and harp in Helsinki.
Trygve Seim, Mathias Eick and Jon Christensen continue to record for ECM in diverse contexts. Saxophonist Trygve Seim’s recent releases include “Purcor” with Andreas Utnem, “one of ECM’s most consistently beautiful records in years”, according to All About Jazz. Master drummer Jon Christensen, one of the architects of ECM’s early musical directions, delighted many with his contributions to “Remembrance” with Ketil Bjørnstad and Tore Brunborg in 2009. Trumpeter Mathias Eick recently completed work on a new album “Skala”, to be released in March 2011.