The Norwegian improv jazz trio Parallax has in recent years joined forces with Icelandic composer and electric guitarist Hafdís Bjarnadóttir to weave together music based on sound recordings from Icelandic nature. Hafdís collected the sounds mostly at night over a number of years and released the CD Sounds of Iceland on the German field recording and sound art label Gruenrekorder in 2015. As part of the Reykjavík Jazz Festival, the material of a new album recorded by Hafdís and Parallax at the Akranes Lighthouse will be showcased in a release concert at the Kaldalón venue at the Harpa Concert Hall. The audience is invited on an auditory journey around Iceland in a concert featuring trumpet, two electric guitars, percussion and sounds of nature.
Since its inception in 2008, the Norwegian improv jazz trio Parallax has developed a unique style, mixing a wide palette of sounds and techniques to forge a single sonic identity. With its music ranging from rhythmic and noise-based to minimalist, lyrical and introspective, the trio has appeared on numerous records, including under its own name and in collaboration with others. It has partnered with several composers, musicians and artists, including the Hong Kong New Music Ensemble, Anders Tveit, Elisabeth Kjeldahl Nilsson and Evelina Dembace.In recent years, Parallax has toured Norway, the UK, France, Spain, Germany, Brazil, Italy, Slovenia, Singapore and China.
Óskar Guðjónsson and Skúli Sverrisson will appear in a duo setting at Reykjavík Jazz Festival for the first time. Their collaboration started years ago and they have released two fantastic duo albums, After Silence (2002) and The Box Tree (2012) for which they received the Icelandic Music Awards for the best jazz album. Óskar and Skúli are two of Iceland’s most prominent musicians in jazz and improvised music and this is a great opportunity to see them play live.
“If you put Stan Getz in an echo chamber, playing at the quietest volume possible, his breath audibly escaping around the reed, alongside someone playing a semi-acoustic bass with baroque-guitar technique, you’d get something roughly like “The Box Tree”, a gorgeous record of duets between two Icelandic musicians, the bassist Skuli Sverrisson and the tenor saxophonist Oskar Gudjonsson. The 10 pieces on the album are studies in melodic ebb and flow at even projection. They’re not improvised pieces; they’re well-charted with sweet melodies. Because it doesn’t sound like much else, it can carve out a privileged space for you pretty quickly. It’s a pulse-settler and an order-restorer: It could be the last thing you listen to before you go to bed, or something to lead you into sleep.”
– Ben Ratliff. The New York Times. May 10, 2013
Skúli Sverrisson: bass guitar
Óskar Guðjónsson: tenor saxophone