ATRO “WADE” MIKKOLA – Bassist, composer, educator; b. Helsinki, Finland, 1956.
The interest in playing music started at the age of 13 with electric bass, through listening to different “progressive” rock groups. A private jazz-club – “Little Jack’ Jazz Club” – operating in Helsinki in the early 70’s introduced him to jazz-music and inspired him to buy a double bass. The first bass lessons were with Teppo Hauta-aho and Olli-Pekka Wasama.
After graduating from high school spent a year in the US (1977-78), performing in the New England area. Attended classes and workshops at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst held by Max Roach, Archie Shepp, Reggie Workman, Roland Wiggins, Oscar Peterson and Billy Taylor.
Returned to the US in1984 to continue the research of jazz-music and Afro-American culture. Performances in New England area and New York with Archie Shepp, Attila Zoller, Ted Curson, Charles Greenlee, Cecil Payne, Sammy Price, Emery Smith, Harold Holt, Freddie Bryant, Peter Bernstein, Andy Jaffe, Vea Williams, Tom Kohl.
Enrolled in the Univ. of Mass. in 1986 (B.M. in Afro-American Music and Jazz 1989; M.M. in Jazz-Arranging and Composition 1991). Received bass instruction from Salvatore Macchia, Victor Gaskin, Ron McClure, George Mraz. Studied composition, improvisation and arranging with Jeffrey Holmes, Frederick Tillis, Robert Stern and Yusef Lateef. During the graduate studies, and the year after, worked as an assistant, teaching courses in jazz-improvisation and music history. Performed with the school jazz-ensembles under the direction of Jeffrey Holmes and David Sporny, in addition to various classical orchestras and ensembles.
1991 received an honorable mention in an IAJE student competition of compositions for a large jazz-ensemble, for his graduate work, which was a three-movement suite called “Moments In Blues”,. Upon graduation, was awarded a scholarship by the Fletcher Henderson Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Univ. of Mass. for excellence in studies.
Moved to New York City in 1992 and continued performing extensively throughout the U.S. east coast including performances with Donald Shirley, Eric Alexander, Cecil Payne, Nnenna Freelon, Joe and John Farnsworth, Andy Bey, Montenia, Giacomo Gates, Sol Yaged, Sofia Laiti ao.
Continued musical and historical studies with pianist Donald Shirley, and bass studies with Robert Field.
Activities after moving back to Finland in 1997:
Has mainly led own groups ranging from duos to a big band in a variety of performances in most of the major venues in Finland, and various cities around Europe.
Has accompanied visiting foreign musicians, like Ed Thigpen, Leroy Jones, Montenia, Mandy Gaines, Lill Lindfors, Alan Matheson, Jan Allan, Bruce Adams, Ulf Johansson-Werre, Heinrich von Kalnein, Gregg Stafford, Dan Barnett, Tricia Evy and Dwayne Burns.
- 2015 with Antti Sarpila Swing Band at the Tchaikovsky Concert Hall in Moscow
- 2015 Alan Matheson – Wade Mikkola Duo in Vancouver, Canada
- 2010 The featured bass soloist with The Great Helsinki Swing Orchestra concert “Bass and Big Band"
- 2007 Wade Mikkola Trio in Tokyo, Japan
- 2005 Wade Mikkola Quintet at the Vancouver Jazz Festival
- Erik Lindström Dream Team 2001 – 2015
- Antti Sarpila Swing Band 2015 – 2017
Sibelius-Academy – Jazz Department/Open University:
- 2014 – present : “History of The Finnish Jazz Music”
- 2008 – present : “Jazz History”
- 1998 – 2003: jazz band workshops and “Jazz History”
Pop/Jazz Conservatory and the Helsinki Polytechnic (Stadia/Metropolia):
- 1998 – 2004: bass and “Jazz History”; band workshops
- 2006 – 2013: taught “History and Aesthetics of Afro-American Music” 1 – 4
Otava Classic Jazz Summer Camp (The Classic Jazz Society)
- 1998 – 2000: jazz band workshops and improvisation
- 2001, 2002, 2004 – 2011: Director of the camp; also the winter camp 2005-2011
Organizational work – to promote understanding and appreciation of jazz music in Finland:
- The Jazz Musicians Assoc. – since 2000; helped organize various concert series that brought together different generations of Finnish jazz musicians, and demonstrated historical aspects of the development of jazz in Finland.
- The Classic Jazz Soc. of Finland – 2002-2011; educational and organizational work.
- The (New) Classic Jazz Soc. of Finland – since 2015; educational and organizational work.
- The Finnish Jazz/Pop Archives – since 2010; educational and organizational work.