Pauli Lyytinen (b. 1983)

composition, tenor, soprano, bass & alto saxophone, electronic wind instrument, synthesizers


Saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen discovered a new level of creativity when visiting Las Pozas in 2006. Having immersed himself in performing live and studying in Sweden and Brazil, he was no stranger to travelling. Nevertheless, experiencing the weird and wonderful garden of surrealist poet Edward James deep in the rainforest of Mexico became a game changer. The journey that had begun in the Eastern Finnish city of Kuopio in 1983 had led the composer and improviser to a point in place and time where he became deeply aware of what it means to be an artist and how important it is to keep an open mind.

The impact of early paragons from Juhani Aaltonen to Keith Jarrett still echo in much of Lyytinen’s output but the dominant trend in recent years has been the increase of minimalist tendencies inspired by Henryk Górecki and Midori Takada. In contrast to this exploration of minute changes, time has been consumed by the large audiovisual solo project Self-Portrait. Upon completion, this juxtaposition of electroacoustic textures and picturesque photographs will follow the 2016 eponymous cd/dvd debut by the one-man band Pauli Lyytinen Machinery.

Elifantree, on the other hand, is an environment where Lyytinen has learned a lot about inspiration and poise. Still going strong after five albums and hundreds of shows around the globe, the saxophonist co-leads this venture with his spouse, vocal artist Anni Elif Egecioglu. The band is currently gearing up for the release of their next disc. Recorded in eight countries with eight drummers (Olavi Louhivuori, Andreas Werliin, Terje Isungset, Lisbeth Diers, Marc Pell, Julian Sartorius, Yuko Oshima and Ryosuke Kiyasu), Hachi will come out in February 2021.

As a bandleader, the intense Lyytinen operates in genres varying from improvisation (Rabbit Hole) to tango nuevo (Sole Azul) and beyond. Another important vessel of expression is the Magnetia Orkesteri which released their sophomore album Hypnosis in March 2020. In addition, the arduous musician finds time to act as full-time member in groups like Raoul Björkenheim eCsTaSy and Astro Can Caravan and record and perform with the likes of Verneri Pohjola.


Formally educated in Sao Paulo and Gothenburg and graduated as a Nordic Master in Jazz from Stockholm, Århus and Helsinki, Pauli Lyytinen rates the know- how passed on by Fredrik Ljungkvist, Peter Brötzmann and Anders Jormin as his most valuable learning asset.

Of the 40 titles in his discography, 27 are releases the brave woodwinder counts as his own productions. As to live appearances, he has performed in excess of 35 different countries. A particular triumph came in 2018 when the nomad artist was invited to become Artist-In-Residence at the Südtirol Jazz Festival in Italy. This recognition comprised of six shows and three extensive composition commissions.

Befitting a weathered improviser, the unequalled Pauli Lyytinen confesses to believing in serendipity. One of his mottoes comes from the eminent Hermeto Pascoal whom he once met on his travels in Brazil. ”Music has no boundaries. It belongs to all and is the universal language of the world.”

by Petri Silas



- Artist-in-Residence, Südtirol Jazz Festival (IT) 2018
- Pori Jazz festival´s Ted Curson - award 2017

- Artistic leader of  Voodoo Music Club 2017-

- Co-founder of  Laponia Improvisations school for improvisation and composition 2012-

- 1st prize in 2007  "Jukka Perko - saxophone competition", 2nd prize in 2004

- Nokia Young Talent prize 2004



"Lyytinen's playing has such liveliness and class that you can listen to him for all evening without getting bored for a moment."

- Dick Hovenga, Written in Music

"The Pauli Lyytinen Magnetia Orkesteri's tremendously exciting performance epitomized all that is good about contemporary jazz."

- Ian Patterson, All About Jazz

"...And He Woke Up in Petroskoi (a tune of Machinery) establishes a guimbri-like riff and then solos atop it in breathtaking manner." 

- The Wire

”Lyytinen is a spectacularly inventive saxophone player that you could happily listen to all evening.” 

- Laurence Mackin, Jazzwise

“Saxophonist and kalimba player Pauli Lyytinen is a wild spirit, but he’s also capable of melodic playing.” 

- John Ephland, Downbeat

"A secret destined to come out globally sooner than not, Pauli Lyytinen is THE current Finnish jazzer to follow if woodwinds are your penchant." 

- Finnish Music Quarterly

"Saxophonist Pauli Lyytinen is the driving force behind numerous smaller ensembles, a musician who's concert never lets one down. Along with his memorable live performances, his recorded catalogue is respectable, both wide and of marvellously high-class. Let's put it bluntly: Lyytinen is inevitably becoming one of the absolute greats within the Finnish jazz scene."

- Pentti Ronkanen, Suomijazz

"Lyytinen is one of the most significant saxophonists within the improvised and experimental jazz music scene in Finland today. Pauli is very imaginative and he has a clear focus in exploring and pushing the limits of saxophone playing." 

- Jouko Kirstilä, Jazzrytmit

"Lyytinen is a real find for me. His playing moves from inside to out with complete ease, his solos have their own logic and drive."


”Lyytinen, who is probably the most talented multi- reed instrumentalist of the young generation, has gained reputation among others in Elifantree by his prudent intelligence, minimalistic elegance and melodic sense of drama. With Björkenheim one needs to be able to play brutally and Lyytinen succeeds with that, too.”

- Jukka Hauru, Helsingin Sanomat