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Edward Vesala
Edward Vesala
December 4, 1999
Age 54
 
Heart Failure 
 
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Memorial Concert for Edward Vesala

                     Past and present members of Edward Vesala's Sound & Fury will be performing 
                     a special tribute concert in memory of the great drummer/composer in Finland on 
                     December 21st. At the Tse-Tse Club in Helsinki, numerous musicians will 
                     convene to play Vesala's music. It is expected that Edward's daughter, Ida, will 
                     join the Sound & Fury ensemble on percussion for the occasion. 

                     Vesala died suddenly at his country home outside Helsinki on December 4th, 
                     apparently of heart failure. He was 54 years old. His health had been precarious 
                     for many years, but this seldom slowed him down; indeed, he pursued his musical 
                     quest with extraordinary vigour and commitment right to the end. 

                     Edward Vesala was one of the most original forces in contemporary jazz. All 
                     important developments in Finnish improvisation over the last 30 years stem from 
                     his example or direct involvement, but he also influenced music beyond jazz and 
                     beyond the Finnish borders, and left behind a rich recorded legacy that will 
                     continue to be studied wherever there are listeners with open ears. As a drummer, 
                     composer/arranger, improviser, musical philosopher and polemicist, Vesala was 
                     a unique figure 

                     From 1972 to 1999, Edward Vesala recorded for ECM. At his death, a new 
                     Sound & Fury album for ECM was incomplete. 

                     Vesala's recordings with Sound & Fury netted the very highest international 
                     praise. "Lumi" for instance, was declared by the British press to be one of the 
                     essential albums of the 1980s. With "Ode To The Death Of Jazz", released in 
                     1990, Vesala took a brave - and very necessary - stand against the cynical 
                     market forces that had turned jazz into a mere nostalgic commodity, and he made 
                     a very persuasive case indeed for the re-integration of the real jazz tradition of 
                     creativity, innovation and spirituality through the sheer force of his - and his band's 
                     playing. Coming, angrily, to bury what jazz had become, Vesala couldn't help but 
                     celebrate the vital, life-affirming qualities that had made the music, historically, so 
                     valuable. The recording stirred up much controversy and debate in magazines 
                     and newspapers, worldwide. 

                     He played his own kind of jazz, yet his complete oeuvre would stretch the most 
                     far-reaching definitions of the genre. A voracious listener, he incorporated 
                     elements from everywhere in his music. Rock's sound and energy were part of his 
                     palette, but so was microtonal music, the tango, music of Thailand, Korea, Bali, 
                     Siam, Vietnam, West Africa, Finnish folk music, the classical tradition from 
                     Beethoven to Lutoslawski - all of this and more is refracted and subtly reflected in 
                     his writing.  

                     His recordings, from "Triptykon" through "Nan Madol", "Satu", "Lumi", "Ode To 
                     The Death Of Jazz", "Invisible Storm" and "Nordic Gallery" are essential and 
                     enduring statements of a great artist.  ~ ECM
 
 
 

  
 

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  Born: February 15, 1945 in Mäntyharju, Finland
Died: December 4, 1999 in Helsinki Finland
 
 
 
  
 
 

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