Bridging the divide between the atmospheric introversion of the Norwegian jazz scene and the boisterous extroversion of the American scene, Sunna Gunnlaugs has recorded an album that will appeal to bounce addicts and shoegazers alike.
Comprised of Gunnlaugs on piano, Porgrimur Jonsson on bass and Scott McLemore on drums, the trio deftly fuses facets of jazz that are not often combined. The opening track, with its gentle propulsion and innocent charm, is reminiscent of Keith Jarrett’s 1970s American Quartet, as is “Diamonds on the Inside,” with its soul jazz melodies and hard bop flourishes. No less prominent are dream-like tunes “Fyrir Brynhildi” and “Thema.” Both are austere and introspective, and would fit seamless into a playlist containing ECM artists Marcin Wasilewski and Bobo Stenson. Most successful, however, are the tunes where two different qualities shine equally bright; “Crab Canon,” opens with an extended bit of fuzzy tension as Gunnlaugs’s keys maintain a deep low hum and Jonsson’s bass rises and falls hypnotically; but when McLemore taps his way in, the trio sheds the tension and replaces it with a happy jaunt more conducive to tapping the foot than solitary thinking.
No less buoyant for its minimalism, no less lively for its melancholia, Gunnlaugs has bonded facets of jazz into a startlingly alluring album.