Teemu Viinikainen is one of the most renowned and reputable jazz guitarists to come from Finland. Expression, swing and virtuosity are key elements in his playing, but the greatest impression is left by his strong presence, tenderness and beautiful tone.

Viinikainen picked up playing guitar at the age of seven, and had his first live performances by the age of 12. He went on to study at the Helsinki Pop & Jazz Conservatory, and continued from there on to study & obtain his master’s degree in Jazz at the Sibelius Academy. Ever since, he has been left with the spark to share his knowledge and skill with others. Viinikainen has studied the guitar with guidance from noteworthy mentors such as Pat Metheny and Wayne Krantz, and worked as teacher of jazz guitar and improvisation at the Sibelius Academy since 2002. He has also published two books on jazz guitar, and he is a sought for lecturer around Finland on the topic of jazz.

2001-founded supergroup U-Street All Stars was Viinikainen’s first prominent jazz group, through which he started to gain serious fame. The band achieved wide domestic recognition and numerous awards, including first place in the international Getxo Jazz Contest (2001), Pori Jazz –festival’s Artist of the Year award (2002) and the 2003 Critics’ Spurs award given by The Finnish Critics’ Association. Later personal awards include the Jazz award of Sony Finland (2004) and the Yrjö-prize by the Jazz Finland association.

Viinikainen’s greatest achievement can be considered to be the reputation as a highly skilled go-to guitarist in various top-tier ensembles, including various projects with a long-term colleague, saxophonist Jukka Perko. Perko’s trio Avara, featuring guitarist Jarmo Saari as the third member, has published several recordings and performed around Europe and in Australia in addition to Finland. Viinikainen himself has performed triumphantly with international big shots such as Joe Lovano, Vince Mendoza, Randy Brecker, Dave Liebman, Tim Hagans and Jeff “Tain” Watts. He has also played as soloist for a multitude of domestic symphonic orchestras and worked with various smaller classical ensembles.

So far Viinikainen has had three ensembles of his own. The very first record of his own ‘Tales of Robert Dickson’ was published in 2005 under record company KSJAZZ, featuring widely acclaimed trumpeter Tim Hagans along with Timo Hirvonen on bass and Jussi Lehtonen on drums. The subsequent records ‘Nyt!’ (Prophone, 2011) and ‘Hit it!’ (Prophone, 2014) were expeditions into the world of traditional jazz guitar trios, featuring Ville Herrala on bass and Mika Kallio on drums. Currently Viinikainen is occupied by his latest trio Teemu Viinikainen III together with keyboardist Mikael Myrskog and drummer Joonas Riippa. The band published their debut album ‘Return of Robert Dickson’ in autumn of 2017, and it was nominated for Jazz Album of the Year in the Emma-Gala of 2018. Viinikainen’s first solo guitar album is in the works, and is set to publish in 2019.

”I have followed the career of Teemu Viinikainen since the early 2000’s and his days with a very accomplished jazz group called the U-Street All Stars. I immediately sensed great potential in his imaginative approach to improvisation, something he has fulfilled in the intervening years to become one of Europe’s finest guitarists on the contemporary jazz scene.”
Stuart Nicholson, professor, author, journalist & critic

“Teemu Viinikainen’s tone and groove alone establishes him as one of the heavies, but combine that with his unique compositional concept and lines and you are witnessing one of the truly baddest improvising guitar players from Scandinavia and beyond!!”
Jonathan Kreisberg, jazz guitar virtuoso