Firehouse 12 • 45 Crown Street • New Haven, CT 06510 • 203.785.0468

Sunna Gunnlaugs

Performer's Website

Originally from Iceland, now living in New York City, Sunna has found a way to make music that people on both sides of the Atlantic can relate to. Highly influenced by such American pianists as Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett, and Scandinavians like Bobo Stenson, her music has developed its own charming brand of romantic lyricism, riding atop a driving American rhythm section.

She came to America in 1993 to study jazz at William Paterson College, where she was taught by, among others, pianist Pete Malinverni, and bassist Rufus Reid. While in school she formed a trio with bassist Dan Fabricatore and drummer Scott McLemore, which she recorded upon graduating and self-released on a CD entitled Far Far Away. The trio toured Iceland in 1997 (which was the first major tour of Iceland by a female musician) and continues to perform in America.

In December 1999 she recorded the CD Mindful with a quartet that featured bassist Drew Gress, saxophonist Tony Malaby and again drummer Scott McLemore. This quartet toured Iceland in March 2000 and the states in April 2000 as well as performing at local NYC performances such as the Knitting Factory and Cornelia Street Cafe. In August 2001 she toured the states again with a quartet featuring saxophonist Peter Hess, bassist Matt Pavolka and McLemore which included a stop at Blues Alley in DC. She brought a quartet with Pavolka, McLemore and Ohad Talmor to Europe for a three week tour of six countries in March 2002. In June and July she toured Canada with a quartet featuring Pavolka, McLemore and Quinsin Nachoff appearing at the major jazz festivals.

Sunna received an artist salery from the Artist Fund in Iceland to write music to Icelandic poetry. Sunna put together a fine quintet to perform at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival in Iceland in October of 2002, and record the CD titled Fagra veröld. Joining Sunna this time was Kristjana Stefánsdottir on vocals, Sigurður Flosason on alto saxophone, Drew Gress on bass, and Scott McLemore on drums.

Her quartet toured Europe again in spring 2003 and released a new CD titled Live in Europe. The CD was recorded during the tour in 2002 and reached top 10 on radio in the USA and peaked at #2 on radio in Canada.

Her quartet did their debut in Tokyo, Japan in July 2003.

Sunna's radio career began in 1998 with her show on RAS 1 [Icelandic Public Radio] called Jazz Gallery New York. Her concept was to expose Icelanders to jazz by giving them a behind the scenes look into the music and the people who make it. She interviews one artist per one hour show and plays their music. Her guests have included: Dave Douglas, Ben Monder, Mark Turner, Marc Johnson, Ethan Iverson, Kurt Rosenwinkle, Maria Schneider, Larry Goldings, Guillermo Klein, Matt Wilson, Chris Cheek, Jim Hall, Ellery Eskelin, Jason Moran, Drew Gress, Frank Kimborough, Chris Potter, Myra Melford, John Abercrombie, David Berkman, Don Byron, Lee Konitz and Jim McNeely. For further info visit the Icelandic Radio's website.

Her various credits and awards include:
an endowment from the American Culture Center
a concert at the American Embassy in Iceland
a cultural award from the American Scandinavian Society
an artist salary from the Ministry of Education in Iceland in 1999 and 2002
and a concert at the prestigious Cosmos Club in Washington DC presented by the Icelandic Embassy.

Firehouse 12 Performances

The Sunna Gunnlaugs Quartet Sunday, May 28, 2006, 9:00p

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