Manuel Dunkel, was born on February 11, 1971 in the city of Vantaa, Finland and is recognized as one of the strongest voices on the Finnish jazz scene today. His international class musicianship and passionate playing has been praised in Finland since early -90`s. Dunkel´s playing is characterized by rich and strong saxophone sound, well-developed melodic lines and intense swing. Dunkel got heavily into jazz in his teens, absorbing and practicing jazz language from the records. He was fascinated especially by saxophonist John Coltrane, who became one of Dunkel´s main influence. Dunkel studied first at the Oulunkylä Pop & Jazz Conservatory, and then entered the Sibelius-Academy Jazz Program, where he earned his Master´s degree in 2004.
In the early 90´s Dunkel build his reputation as an adaptable and expressive musician in various musical settings from funk to straight-ahead jazz. Since 1994 he has been a member of the UMO Jazz Orchestra (the leading professional big band in Finland), which has given Dunkel invaluable experience not only of the group playing, but also as a soloist. Dunkel`s skills and intense playing was soon noted by public and critics, and as a result he received the Pekka Pöyry- saxophone award 1996 and was voted as" The Best Tenor Saxophonist " in Jazz Rytmit- magazine 1999-2001.
After developing his musicianship as a side-man, Dunkel started to lead his quartet in 1996. The quartet made two well received CD`s, toured Finland and played in EBU-concert at the April Jazz International Jazz Festival in Finland 1997. 2001 he toured Finland and Sweden with his Scandinavian band TONIC, featuring Norwegian keyboardist Christian Wallumrød and Swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz. In the early 2000`s Dunkel played intensively with Jukka Perko & Hurmio Orchestra - a Finnish band which recorded successful CD for the Blue-Note and toured Far-East (Australia, China, Singapore, South-Korea and Thailand). Dunkel has often performed also in Mid-Europe (Germany, Netherlands, Belgium, and Switzerland) since 1998 with Finnish band Platypus Ensemble. Dunkel has worked with internationally renewed jazz musicians such as Rick Margitza, Eric Truffaz and Kenny Wheeler.
Occasionally Dunkel is also in demand as a featured soloist, such as a weeklong gig with a Japanese trio in Tokyo 2004 and a concert with Swiss guitarist Harald Haerter`s group in Finland 2005. 2000 he played as a soloist with the Estonian Dream Big Band.
2005 Dunkel formed a new quartet (with pianist Giorgos Kontrafouris, bassist Ville Huolman and drummer Jussi Lehtonen). 2006 the quartet recorded CD "Darn That Dream" for American record-label KSJAZZ
To visit Manuel Dunkel's website CLICK HERE
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