Bio

GUITARIST KARI ANTILA


Esteemed Finnish jazz guitarist and composer, Kari Antila has made international career that spans over twenty years, traversing the realms of jazz from Finland to Belgium and New York.

Antila has become one of Finland’s most internationally acclaimed jazz guitarists of his generation. Born in Laitila, Finland and based mostly nowadays in Belgium Kari tours globally as bandleader and sideman.


Across five critically acclaimed albums, Kari has built a rich discography noted both for his original compositions and captivating instrumental voice. Latest album ”Dahill Road” was released in the end of 2023 and received rave reviews. Marc Van de Walle  from Belgian magazine Jazz & Mo` writes: ”Guitarist Kari Antila knows the art of beautifully integrating his melodic and technically clever solos into lines that are accessible to everyone. This CD is a must for every guitar lover !


Kari´s previous works have also graced numerous significant domestic and international festivals, including festivals such as Pori Jazz, Gent Jazz and the Belgian JazzLab Series.


During his career, Kari has worked and shared stage with many internationally renowned Finnish and European jazz musicians such as Manuel Dunkel, Severi Pyysalo, Jukka Perko, Alexi Tuomarila, Pekka Pylkkänen, Kaisa Mäensivu, Jussi Kannaste, Tuomo Uusitalo, Peter Hertmans (BEL), Hans Van Oost (BEL), Bart Van Caenegem (BEL), Sal La Rocca( BEL), Jan De Haas (BEL), Marc Godfroid (BEL), Bruno Castellucci (BEL), Bart De Nolf (BEL), Jos Machtel (NL), Gianni Gagliardi (ESP), Dario Guibert( ESP), Luca Santaniello (ITA), Will Vinson (UK)…

Kari has also played with many New York based international jazz names: For example Downbeat magazine Award winner saxophonist Chad Lefkowitz-Brown (USA), Victor Assis saxophone competition winner Livio Almeida (BRA) and many others like Eduardo Belo (BRA), Hironori Momoi (JAP), Lars Ekman (SWE), Alberto Pibiri (ITA), Felix Lecaros (CHN), Myles Sloniker (USA), Jesse Simpson (USA)...

Kari has performed in Denmark, France, Switzerland, Austria, UK, Spain, Germany, Estonia, Latvia, Luxembourg, Portugal, Mexico, Brazil, USA and Italy in different occasions including some of the most famous clubs and concert halls in world like Olympia, Paris, France.

Kari released his fourth CD  Kari Antila & Karri Luhtala Organ Brothers ”More” September 2018 with younger generation Hammond organ player Karri Luhtala (FIN) and drummer Tuomas Timonen (FIN). Triumph of these CD was interrupted with worldwide pandemics in the end of 2019, but band toured in Belgium and Finland in numerous festivals and received great response.

2016 Kari released his third CD as leader with jazz guitarist Peter Hertmans. CD is called “Guitar Stories” and it received lot of praising reviews from European jazz magazines. CD includes 3 acoustic guitar duos and 6 quartet tunes with one of the all time best Belgian rhythm section: Sal La Rocca(bass) and Lionel Beuvens(drums) JAZZWISE, ( United Kingdom) wrote: ” The Belgian-based Finnish guitarist Kari Antila brings mentor Peter Hertmans along for the ride in an impressive quartet session, the pairing combining effortlessly on a wide spectrum of guitar jazz from chamber classical, bebop through to contemporary fusion !” JAZZRYTMIT (Finland) wrote: " Tasteful album and great interplay! Masterful jazz guitar duo. In this album Kari Antila proves to be part of  European jazz guitar elite !”

2013 Kari Antila released " The North Wind" . This CD was the real breakthrough album in Kari's career, recorded with some of the alltime best jazz musicians from Finland: Alexi Tuomarila pno, Manuel Dunkel sax, Jaska Lukkarinen drs and Ville Herrala bs. Album  received praising reviews in international jazz press for example Jazzwise UK  gave nice review with 3 stars ( www.jazzwise.com ) and writes in the review: “Finnish rising star guitarist-composer Kari Antila leads a classy quintet including ECM pianist Alexi Tuomarila, tastefully shifting between good-time fusion and contemporary hard bop"

2007 Kari released his first CD as leader with Belgian saxophonist Andy Declerck called “1000 Miles Away”. This ecord was very well received in Belgium and Finland and band performed in many famous festivals like Pori Jazz, Finland and Jazzlab Series, Belgium.

Kari is graduate of pop/jazz music pedagogue in Stadia, Helsinki, Finland.  Kari moved to Belgium 2003 and studied jazz guitar with famous Belgium Jazz players Peter Hertmans and Philip Catherine. 2006 Kari graduated cum laude from Royal Conservatory of Gent as a Master of Jazz Music. Later on Kari was in New York many times and had opportunity to study with many leading contemporary top jazz guitarists. For example: Lage Lund, and Gilad Hekselman.