Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Mikkola, Atro "Wade" (Kainu Yrjana)
Mikkola, Atro "Wade" (Kainu Yrjana), bassist, composer, educator; b. Helsinki, Finland, 9 March 1956. His father is Kainu Mikkola (b. 1931) and his mother is Inkeri (born Virolainen, 1935). He has two sisters, Terja (1959-80) and Pirta (1960). He has one brother, Erko (b. 1968).
His interest in playing music started at the age of 13 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. He took bass lessons 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. During the military service (1979-80) back in Finland was in charge of forming musical groups for different functions. Returned to the US in 1984 to continue his studies of jazz-music and Afro-american culture. Performances in New England area and New York with Archie Shepp, Attila Zoller, Ted Curson, Charles Greenlee, Sammy Price, Emery Smith, Harold Holt, Freddie Bryant, Peter Bernstein, Andy Jaffe, Vea Williams, Tom Kohl. Enrolled in the Univ.of Mass. in 1986 (BM in Afro-American Music and Jazz-1989, and MM in Jazz-arranging and -composition-1991). Received bass instruction from Salvatore Macchia, Victor Gaskin, Ron McClure, George Mraz. Composition, improvisation and arranging studies with Jeffrey Holmes, Frederick Tillis, Robert Stern and Yusef Lateef. During the graduate studies and the following year worked as an assistant, helping teach courses in jazz-improvisation and music history. Performances with the school jazz-ensembles under the direction of Jeffrey Holmes and David Sporny, and various "classical" orchestras and ensembles. 1991 received an honorable mention for a three-movement suite called "Moments In Blues" in an IAJE student competition of compositions for a large jazz-ensemble, and was also awarded a scholarship by the Fletcher Henderson Memorial Scholarship Fund at the Univ. of Mass. upon graduation. Moved to New York City in 1992 and continued performing extensively throughout the 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 and others. He continued musical and historical studies with pianist Donald Shirley, and bass studies with Robert Field. Taught bass at the Community Music School in Springfield, Ma., and at the Dalton School of Performing Arts in NYC.
After moving back to Finland in 1997 has continued to teach bass and jazz history at the Pop/Jazz Conservatory, Helsinki Polytechnic, Sibelius-Academy, Open University and Otava Jazz Camp. He has 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, Jan Allan, Bruce Adams, Ulf Johansson-Werre, Heinrich von Kalnein.
As a leader: On The Way (featuring Eric Alexander) (1996); A.W.M. Quintet: Muistatko-Remember (1999), A.W.M. Trio: Poseidon Rising (2002).
Dagnello Jazz Quintet: Fever (1994); ESO Choir and Jorma Elorinne: Tuuli Soi Viestia (1998); Montenia and the Wade Mikkola Trio: Each and Every Day (1999); Pekka Toivanen: The Best of Kanteletar (1999); Emery Smith: A Slice of Life (2000); Antti Sarpila Swing Band: 20th Anniversary (2002); She's Funny that Way (2002); Swinging Christmas (2002)
Bright Moments Festival: Jazz In July Express vol. 2 (WGBY-1987)
Jazzact series of Finnish Jazz: Atro "Wade" Mikkola Quintet (YLE-2001)
Daily Hampshire Gazette 3-23-1985, Holyoke Transcript 3-14-1991, Springfield
Union News 4-24-1991, Jazzrytmit (Finland) 3/2000, 2/2002.