Saturday, October 29, 2011

Sunna Gunnlaugs: Long Pair Bond

Sunna Gunnlaugs (piano)
Long Pair Bond  (self produced; 2011)
Scott McLemore (drums)
Thorgrimur Jonsson (bass)

I discovered Sunna Gunnlaugs only earlier this year, but since then I have consumed alot of her music and have been truly captivated. Her style is intimate and her use of space is exciting and has you hanging on every note.

Sunna Gunnlaugs is an independent artist who has created her own path with seven unbelievable albums that go from strength to strength. I loved her last album The Dream (in fact I raved about it). But I think her new album, Long Pair Bond is phenomenal! An even more intimate and introspective album than its predecessor, Gunnlaugs continues to elevate as a composer and a musician.

The trio setting demands more of the listener. It's an opportunity to absorb the emotion of the session and feel the movement of each instrument. "Long Pair Bond" sets sail with a lovely tone. Gunnlaug's playing carries you along slowly and gently down a rugged stream. Jonsson's bass fills the room but never overpowers the notes. McLemore adds poignant timing that gives a "Long Pair Bond" an additional punch towards its conclusion. On "Thema" Gunnlaugs and Jonsson's mixture of Latin and classical merged into a solemn progression that somehow is still quietly uplifting.

"Crab Cannon," a piece originally performed by the same trio a year ago, sounds more invigorating here in the studio. The production is obviously more crisp than its live sister version but Gunnlaugs obviously performed this piece on a number of occasions so this version delivers more impact through experience. McLemore's drummer jumps out with freedom and spirit that should really get any listener excited. "Fyrir Byrnhildi", a richly driven piece buoyed by Jonsson and Gunnlaugs, is warm and inviting. A delicately crafted number with almost gospel touches that has quietly become my personal favourite on Long Pair Bond.

"Vicious World" closes the album beautifully, with the focus squarely on Gunnlaugs. McLemore and Jonsson add light swatches of colour to the outside but momentum lays within the vibrant and inspirational performance of Gunnlaugs. This is an intimate piece that would probably bring the house down in a large recital hall.

In the independent spirit of the 21st Century, Sunna Gunnlaugs has taken the exciting and adventurous journey into the fan-supported release world (a grass-roots version of venture capital). Utilizing the organization of Kickstarter we can all support the physical production of Long Pair Bond with a small donation to the creation of the album. There are a number of different levels of support that we can contribute. Each with the right and appropriate reward for you.

This is a great opportunity for artists and fans to be a part of something special. If you are a fan of Sunna. A fan of jazz. A fan of exemplary jazz. Then this is an opportunity for us all to put our collective spirit and force together for the good of great music.

Join Sunna Gunnlaugs and enjoy a truly phenomenal album--Long Pair Bond.

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