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Biography

Manuel Dunkel (b. 2.11.1971) comes from the city of Vantaa, Finland. Since mid-90´s he has established himself as one of the strongest voices in Finnish jazz scene. Dunkel´s playing is charcterized by rich saxophone sound, melodically strong lines and intense swing.

Dunkel got heavily into jazz in his teens, absorbed jazz language from the records and studied first at the Oulunkylä Pop & Jazz Conservatory. He was fascinated especially by saxophonist John Coltrane, who became one of Dunkel´s main influence. After the conservatory Dunkel entered the Sibelius-Academy jazz department in Helsinki, where he earned his Master´s degree in 2004 and started to teach later on.

Since 1994 he has been a member of the UMO Jazz Orchestra (the leading professional big band in Finland). In the -90´s Dunkel build his reputation as an adaptable and expressive musician in various musical settings from funk to straight-ahead jazz. Dunkel`s skills and intense playing were soon noted by public and critics, and he was voted as” Tenor Saxophonist Of The Year” in Jazz Rytmit- magazine 1999-2001.

In the early 2000's Dunkel toured Far-East (Australia, China, Singapore, South-Korea, Thailand and Vietnam) with Espoo Big Band and with Jukka Perko & Hurmio Orchestra ( a band which recorded succesful CD for the Blue-Note).

2001 he toured Finland and Sweden with his his scandinavian band TONIC, featuring norwegian keyboardist Christian Wallumrød and swedish trumpeter Anders Bergcrantz.

Since late -90's Dunkel has toured several times in Mid-Europe various groups such as Alexi Tuomarila Quartet, Platypus Ensemble and UMO Jazz Orchestra.

Dunkel started to lead his quartet in 1996. Dunkel´s quartet has toured several times in Finland and performed on international jazz festivals in Finland, France, Greece, Morocco and Serbia. Since 1998 he has released five albums as leader and they consist mainly Dunkel´s original compositions and arrangements. His latest album "Meeting Point" (Texicalli Records) was released in 2013 and it features a jazz quartet and a string quartet.

Dunkel has performed as a featured soloist in Estonia, Finland, Sweden, Turkey, Japan and has worked with internationally renowed jazz musicians such as Paul Jackson, Rick Margitza, Eric Truffaz and Kenny Wheeler.

In 2009 in Helsinki he played and recorded as a soloist on a concerto ”Time Freeze” for saxophone , string orchestra and percussion. This piece was composed for Dunkel by pianist-composer Sid Hille.

In 2011 Dunkel received prestigous Yrjö -award from the Finnish Jazz Federation.