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Daily articles carefully curated by the All About Jazz staff. Read our popular and future articles.

ALBUM REVIEW

The Reykjavik Big Band: Innri

Read "Innri" reviewed by Jack Bowers

Speaking of cool jazz . . . It doesn't get much cooler than Iceland, where the remarkably talented Reyjkavik Big Band makes its home. According to the most recent available evidence, Innri is either the fifth or sixth album recorded by the RBB, which was formed in 1992 and is composed of professional musicians living and working in Iceland. All of the music on Innri was written by tenor saxophonist Joel Palsson and arranged (and conducted) by ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Joel Palsson: Horn

Read "Horn" reviewed by Dave Wayne

A 21st Century jazz aficionado really shouldn't be surprised about where his/her jazz is coming from. That said, the whole concept of an Icelandic jazz scene may well bring a wry smile. Known primarily for innovative rockers Björk and Sigur Rós, and smooth jazzers Mezzoforte, the volcanic island nation has also borne innovative jazz artists such as guitarist Hilmar Jensson and bassist Skúli Sverrisson, both former musical associates of Berklee-educated saxophonist/composer Jóel Pálsson who, unlike Jensson and Sverisson, returned to ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Joel Palsson: Varp

Read "Varp" reviewed by Mark F. Turner

Something a little different walks this way on Varp by saxophonist Jóel Pálsson. Having performed on hundreds of recordings and winning three “best jazz album of the year awards in Iceland, this is his fifth recording as a leader. But while the awards and accolades are most commendable, it is the unusual and memorable music that takes center stage on this release. The recording combines many music influences--popular, world music, and electronica--into a distinctive mix that is ...

ALBUM REVIEW

J: Septett

Read "Septett" reviewed by C. Michael Bailey

Multi-instrumentalist Jóel Pálsson has come into his own over the past five years. A native of Reykjavik, Iceland, Pálsson was a mere 25 years old when he emerged onto the recording scene with his first commercial release, Prím. Fresh out of Berklee, having studied under George Garzone and Bill Pierce, Mr. Pálsson’ freshman effort was characterized by an allegiance to both Ed Bickert and John Abercrombie in that he is both muscular and intelligent in his musical approach, even when ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Joel Palsson: Septett

Read "Septett" reviewed by Dan McClenaghan

For those of us who aren't world travelers, hot jazz out of Iceland might seem unlikely. Or cool jazz for that matter, but saxophonist Joel Palsson's Septett takes a giant step toward putting that North Atlantic island nation on the jazz map.Reed player Joel Palsson studied at the prestigious (for good reason) Berklee College of Music, graduating summa cum laude. He has appeared on over fifty recordings, with Septett being his second outing as a leader. The music ...

ALBUM REVIEW

J: Klif

Read "Klif" reviewed by AAJ Staff

The members of saxophonist Jóel Pálsson's quartet on Klif share two things in common: first, they're all Icelandic; and second, they all have a profound respect for space. (Apparently island identity and an aversion to density are not mututally exclusive.) The tunes on Klif, all Pálsson originals (except “Serenity," by guitarist Jensson; and “Interlude," an apparent collective improvisation), operate in the middle zone of intensity. They toy with tension, building and releasing small peaks and valleys within a very fluid ...

ALBUM REVIEW

Joel Palsson: Prim

Read "Prim" reviewed by Glenn Astarita

One doesn’t normally associate the North Atlantic country of Iceland with jazz music, yet saxophonist Joel Palsson along with his fellow Icelandic musicians turn in an above average exhibition on Prim. Mr. Palsson leads a hip Quintet through a series of predominately post bop/contemporary and slightly rough edged original compositions as the band display razor-sharp improvisational prowess along with generally up-tempo performances featuring guitarist Hilmar Jensson and others. Palsson exhibits a good deal of fire and tenacity, mainly while performing ...


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