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While the physical climes of Iceland may boast the cold and austere, the island’s brand of jazz is anything but, as evidenced by Joel Paalson and his recent fine recordings of progressive contemporary jazz. Now enter bassist Tómas R. Einarsson into this rarified fray. And what does he do it with? Einarsson performs a very smooth and complete brand of Latin Jazz, replete with the provocative percussion and descending piano runs that would make Poncho Sanchez smile. Eythornór Gunnarsson plays piano with all of the gusto of Chucho Valdes, dropping octaves everywhere while keeping a rock steady beat. Einarsson holds down the fort effectively right on the beat. His string partner in crime, Slagverk Hilmar Jensson, adds his own piquant guitar playing to the pieces, all Einarsson originals.
It is a funny thing, all of this Latin Jazz coming from such remote places. But when it's played this well, who cares?