Born in 1963 to Turku and originally inspired by strong singers and frontmen like Chuck Berry, Elvis Presley and Louis Armstrong, Jouni ”Tane” Kannisto picked up the guitar at the age of twelve. A few years later and a switch to tenor horn already behind him, the budding musician commenced playing the alto saxophone. At the time, he was heavily influenced by Sonny Rollins and taking his first tentative steps towards a career in music with a brass band and a dance band.

Whilst still in high school, Kannisto started practicing on the flute and other woodwinds and joined the Turku Big Band. In his early twenties, as a student of the Turku Conservatory, he took part in one of the now-fabled summer camps organized by composer/drummer Edward Vesala. This move was preceded and partially initiated by befriending saxophonist Jorma Tapio who would go on to become a life-long colleague and friend. Originally Kannisto’s saxophone and flute teacher and mentor-of-sorts from 1982 onwards, Tapio introduced him to a more freer expression and giants such as Jan Garbarek and John Coltrane.

One thing led to another and in 1987 Kannisto was invited to join Vesala’s illustrious large ensemble Sound & Fury alongside Tapio, guitarist Raoul Björkenheim, pianist/harpist Iro Haarla and other likeminded, skilled and adventurous musicians. Tane was 24 years of age at the time and stayed with the group through the albums Ode To The Death Of Jazz (1989), Invisible Storm (1991) and Nordic Gallery (1994) as well as concert tours in Scandinavia, continental Europe and the Far East.

The bandleader’s untimely death in late 1999 abruptly halted all Sound & Fury operations but Kannisto has been actively involved in recent efforts to rekindle the flame – such as the 2013 ”comeback” album Pulsacion and subsequent live shows like the Edward Vesala memorial concert Bread for Soul in Helsinki in March 2015.

In the early-to-mid-1990s, Kannisto recorded and performed with various bands and more temporary projects led by celebrated songwriter Tuomari Nurmio, jazz guitarist Niklas Winter and Sound & Fury alumni Iro Haarla and Raoul Björkenheim. During this period he also worked arduously as a theater musician and briefly relocated to Paris, France in order to study instrument repair. Upon returning to Turku, Kannisto opened his own shop which he has been running since 1994.

In the more recent years, the saxophonist has led his own trio and performed as a member of the Turku Jazz Orchestra since 2012. A current labour-of-love is the acclaimed and highly popular ”Carola – maailmannainen” which opened in April 2015. Still performed to packed houses at the Turku City Theater, this show tells the story of beloved Finnish schlager and jazz singer Carola Standertskjöld (1941-97).

His careers as working musician and instrument repairsman aside, Tane Kannisto is also much in demand as a teacher of woodwinds both privately around the Southwest Coast of Finland and his old alma mater, the Turku Conservatory.

Petri Silas, March 2015

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