14

Sunna Gunnlaugs: Distilled

Jakob Baekgaard By

Sign in to view read count
Sunna Gunnlaugs: Distilled 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 placed within a certain sound or tradition. She is aware of her Icelandic roots and has used the country's musical legacy on Songs from Iceland (Sunny Sky, 2009), but the tranquil folk melodies of Iceland is balanced by an elegant modernistic exploration of time signatures and an infectious swing. This musical blend of old and new also comes to the fore on Distilled, which finds Gunnlaugs in the congenial company of drummer Scott McLemore and bassist Thorgrimur Jonsson.

Whether they swing elegantly on "Momento," dive deep into balladic nostalgia on the title track or explore delicate textures on the brief haiku-like "spin 7," there's a sense of an organic meeting between tradition and modernism or what might be called an accessible experimentalism. Like the rest of the trio, Gunnlaugs seems to have the whole history of jazz at her fingertips and Distilled is the sweeping sound of a rich musical life that has been distilled into art, and like the best musical offerings, the album transgresses conventional boundaries, including those of geography.

Track Listing: Momento; Distilled; Switcheroo; Smiling Face; Gallop; Spin 6; The New Now; 24th Trip; Things You Should Know; From Time To Time; Opposite Side; Spin 7.

Personnel: Sunna Gunnlaugs: piano; Þorgrímur Jónsson: bass; Scott Mclemore: drums.

Title: Distilled | Year Released: 2013 | Record Label: Sunny Sky


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Second Act CD/LP/Track Review Second Act
by Mark Sullivan
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Imaga Mondo CD/LP/Track Review Imaga Mondo
by Troy Dostert
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Port Of Call CD/LP/Track Review Port Of Call
by John Sharpe
Published: August 23, 2017
Read May I Introduce To You CD/LP/Track Review May I Introduce To You
by James Nadal
Published: August 23, 2017
Read Honey And Salt CD/LP/Track Review Honey And Salt
by Mark Corroto
Published: August 22, 2017
Read To the Bone CD/LP/Track Review To the Bone
by Geno Thackara
Published: August 22, 2017
Read "Isang" CD/LP/Track Review Isang
by Roger Farbey
Published: December 24, 2016
Read "Boston, 1954" CD/LP/Track Review Boston, 1954
by Richard J Salvucci
Published: October 1, 2016
Read "Passin' Thru" CD/LP/Track Review Passin' Thru
by Ian Patterson
Published: July 20, 2017
Read "Some Great Songs Vol. 2" CD/LP/Track Review Some Great Songs Vol. 2
by Budd Kopman
Published: April 3, 2017
Read "The Colours Suite" CD/LP/Track Review The Colours Suite
by Mark Sullivan
Published: June 29, 2017
Read "Serious Play" CD/LP/Track Review Serious Play
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: July 3, 2017

Sponsor: JANA PROJECT | LEARN MORE  

Support our sponsor

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.