THE MAN they called Mr Pori Jazz, the festival’s founder, died on 27 February, aged 76.
Kangas cited the 1958 Newport jazz festival and his inspiration and launched Pori Jazz in 1966, drawing an audience of 1,500 to Kirjurinluoto Park, across the river from the town centre.
The event expanded rapidly and passed 100,000 attendances in the 1990s, as it became a week-long festival that took over the west coast town, which has a population of 82,000. These days it sell around 60 tickets and attracts another 100,000 attendances to its free events.
Kangas was artistic director until 2000 and at one point remortgaged his house to keep the festival going.
The festival expanded beyond its early jazz programme featuring artistes such as Miles Davis, Dizzie Gillespie and Chick Corea, to host performances by Paul Simon, Ringo Starr, Sting and Kanye West.
This year’s event is still scheduled to take place on 10-18 July and feature artistes such as Herbie Hancock, Gwen Stefani, John Legend and Dido
Kangas, who played double bass with fellow jazz musicians, is survived by his wife of 57 years, Paula, son Petri and daughter Tupuna.