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CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunna Gunnlaugs: Distilled

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It is tempting to connect a musical aesthetic with a particular place. In fact, the whole idea of national music relies on the concept of an intrinsic national spirit, which creates an original musical expression. The only problem with a concept like national music is that it tends to pigeonhole musicians and create prejudice rather than adventurousness. Then it is great to have an artist like Icelandic pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs, who is good at turning things around. It wouldn't be far off the mark to see her as a kind of musical trickster, who refuses to be ...

CATCHING UP WITH

Sunna Gunnlaugs: Keys For Traveling

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Pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs is back in the USA for a visit. Following on the heels of the critical success of 2011 release Long Pair Bond (Sunny Sky), Gunnlaugs will be touring from coast to coast beginning in Berkeley, California and hitting several cities along the way to a three-day grand finale in Virginia Beach, Virginia. She'll have the Long Pair Bond trio in tow, with Scott McLemore on drums and Þorgrimur Jonsson on bass.Originally from Iceland, Gunnlaugs attended William Paterson University in New Jersey before setting down roots in Brooklyn, where she immersed herself in the jazz culture. ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunna Gunnlaugs: Long Pair Bond

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Several songs on Icelandic pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs' Long Pair Bond, including the ballad “Elsabella," are lilting and beautiful enough to have an almost hypnotic effect. The interplay between Gunnlaugs and bassist Þorgrímur Jónsson is clearly borne out of a great deal of time spent working together. Along with drummer Scott McLemore, who contributed three compositions to this session, the group plays with an empathy for which jazz ensembles strive, especially important in trios such as this.Gunnlaugs has a special knack for writing gospel-tinged and pop- influenced tunes where a sparse harmonic center serves to buoy lilting melodies played ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunna Gunnlaugs: Long Pair Bond

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With Long Pair Bond, Sunna Gunnlaugs returns to the piano trio format last heard on Far Far Away. Since that 1997 self-titled debut--the only album to use her tongue-twisting full name, Gunnlaugsdóttir--the Icelandic pianist has, in addition to contracting her name to the eminently more memorable Gunnlaugs, recorded almost exclusively with quartets, largely populated with American (or, at least, American-resident) musicians met after moving to the United States in 1993 to study at William Paterson College. Long Pair Bond's return to trio format is, however, just one of a number of significant changes afoot since Gunnlaugs released The Dream (Self ...

TAKE FIVE WITH...

Take Five With Sunna Gunnlaugs

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Meet Sunna Gunnlaugs: Ex-Brooklyn patriot, born in Iceland, jazz pianist and composer Sunna Gunnlaugs has released five CDs and performed in Europe, Japan, Canada and the US, combining the elegance of the European approach with a New York attitude.Instrument(s): PianoTeachers and/or influences? When I lived in New York I was very influenced by all the music around me and especially the fact that everyone was writing their own. I think my Icelandic background comes through in my music mixed with my New York influences. Some of my favorite artists are; ...

IN 10

In 10 With Sunna Gunnlaugs

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Meet Sunna Gunnlaugs: Ex-Brooklyn patriot, born in Iceland, jazz pianist and composer Sunna Gunnlaugs has released five CDs and performed in Europe, Japan, Canada and the US, combining the elegance of the European approach with a fiery New York attitude.Instrument(s):Piano.When were you happiest?I remember feeling really happy for quite some time after my first daughter was born in 2005.What is your greatest fear?The idea of losing my family is frightening so I try not to think about it.What is your earliest memory?I'm ...

CD/LP/TRACK REVIEW

Sunna Gunnlaugs Quartet: Live in Europe

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Polish trumpeter Tomasz Stanko explained, in a recent interview, how the term melancholy does not always have to mean sad; there can be an inherent optimism as well. Pianist Sunna Gunnlaugs, an ex-pat from Iceland who now makes her home in New York City, understands that all too well. She writes music that is tender and romantic, sometimes joyful, but often with just the slightest melancholic edge. That doesn't make her music oppressive or dark, however; amidst the conflicting emotions she manages to create an atmosphere of welcome. Captured half-way through a 2002 European tour, Live in Europe finds Gunnlaugs ...



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