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Raoul Björkenheim

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Biography

Raoul Björkenheim is a jazz guitarist. He was born in Los Angeles in 1956 to Finnish parents. He lived in the USA until he was 15 years old, when his family returned to Finland. He resided in Finland until 2001 when he relocated to New York City.

Björkenheim had his breakthrough experience working with one of the most significant figures in Finnish jazz, drummer Edward Vesala. In the 1980s he played on three records under Vesala’s leadership, including the first by Vesala’s group Sound And Fury, Lumi (on ECM Records).

In the late 1980s Björkenheim left Vesala to start his own group, Krakatau. After two recordings issued initially only in Finland, Björkenheim reformed the group with all new personnel (other than himself). In the early 1990s the new Krakatau issued two recordings on ECM, after which it dissolved.

Subsequent projects have included the international group Phantom City, led by Paul Schütze; a collaborative recording with New York guitarist Nicky Skopelitis; arranging and playing the music of Miles Davis’s electric period with Finland’s UMO Jazz Orchestra; and a trio with Bill Laswell and Morgan Ågren called Blixt.

His recent ongoing collaborations include a duo with drummer Lukas Ligeti and Scorch Trio with Norwegians Ingebrigt Håker Flaten (bass) and Paal Nilssen-Love (drums).

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