Atro ”Wade” Mikkola – bassist, composer, arranger and lecturer – resides in Helsinki, Finland. After spending 14 years on the east coast of the US, he returned home with a wealth of experience and acquired knowledge on the subjects that he went there to learn about – Jazz. The focus had been on finding out about the development and meaning of this art form in the Afro-American culture.
Since his return to Finland in 1997 Mikkola has performed in many settings as a leader, ranging from duos to a big band. He has accompanied many visiting soloists and worked with most of the leading Finnish jazz musicians. A special focus in his own work has been in combining the elements of the Finnish musical tradition with the American jazz.
The educational activities have included formulating and teaching a course on the Afro-American Music History and Aesthetics, and the curriculum for the Jazz Double Bass at the Helsinki Polytechnical College and Pop/Jazz Conservatory. Presently he teaches Jazz History and the History of Finnish Jazz at the Sibelius Academy Open University. The Finnish Jazz History course was started from his suggestion and is the first university level course on the subject.
Mikkola has also been active in many jazz societies with the goal of increasing and expanding the knowledge of this art form in Finland.