New album from Scandinavian jazz stars
Green Moss Black Sand explores the rough, overwhelming and stark beauty of Scandinavian nature and its dark sensibilities. It is jazz with a special bluesy and folksy Nordic sound and a characteristic mix of grandeur and minimalism.
Sigurdur Flosason plays the alto saxophone and he says the following about the new record “The music on this CD is inspired by the highlands of the country that raised me, my native Iceland. The desert-like wasteland holds a singular kind of beauty. Perhaps not pretty in the usual sense of the word, it is beautiful in its stark and rough contrasts. There, beauty lies in the small, in the slow-growing moss with its endless hues of colour, in the black sand stretching as far as the eye can see, in the fragile highland growth and the fresh spring water quietly streaming forth from beneath majestic lava fields. The music is my dedication to the heart of my country and the people who brought me there, my parents.”
Icelandic beauty is the weather capable of changing in the blink of an eye; it is in the stillness and in the storm; in the rain falling at a slant, sometimes almost horizontally; in the sky that has colours you see nowhere else; green when visited by the Aurora Borealis. And then there is the ever present moon, there at the end of the world. This hushed yet ferocious type of beauty is explored on Green Moss Black Sand.
Along with the Lars Jansson Trio, Flosason captures the Nordic nuances with fervour and precision. Lars Jansson is a Swedish jazz pianist and a composer, and the Lars Jansson Trio counts Jansson as well as the Dane Thomas Fonnesbæk on double bass, and the Swede Paul Svanberg on drums. Flosason is from Iceland and is trained as a classical alto saxophonist. Although he primarily plays jazz, he has worked extensively with various Scandinavian musicians such as Cathrine Legardh, Kjeld Lauritsen, and Kristian Leth, and has composed both jazz music and classical pieces. The musicianship, generosity and friendship of the group make the musical images of rural Iceland come to life.
Buy the album here.
Sigurdur Flosason: Alto Saxophone
Lars Jansson: Piano
Thomas Fonnesbæk: Double Bass
Paul Svanberg: Drums
Flosason has written all the lyrics, and has been inspired by Iceland, his homelands, unique and distinctive nature. Where colours meet, as insinuated in the title. The album consists of both ballads like “Stillness in the storm” and dynamic uptempo tracs such as “Serenading the moon”. It’s a very successful album, where Jansson and Floason meet and creates Nordic Jazz with a big variety of structures and moods.
Niels Overgård, Jazznyt
Flosasons sweet tone reminds me a bit of Konitz or Coltrane. Combined with Janssons lyrical piano-style, Fonnesbæks imaginative bass-play and Svanbergs spiced-up drums, it increases the wanderlust trough the Icelandic wilderness
Lasse Seger, Orkesterjournalen
The avant-garde and free jazz of Scandinavia, often on the ECM label, is familiar, and abstraction and intellect are the approach. This album of Icelander Sigurdur Flosason, also saxophone, and Swede Lars Jansson, piano, plus Dane Thomas Fonnesbæk, double bass, and his son Paul Svangberg, drums, is different in two ways. First, the music is influenced by the stark landscape of Iceland, which is known as the land of fire and ice, with volcanic lava beds and glaciers, hot springs and geysers, waterfalls and barren sands. Second, the music is rather mainstream, both lyrical and harmonic … It is said that an artist paints music and a musician plays the spirit of a creative artist. The Sigurdur Flosason & Lars Jansson trio honors the environment with rich, colorful if not dramatic sounds.
Dr. Debra Jan Bibel, Amazon
To paint his musical portrait, Flosason plays in a very different, more searching and personal style than on his two previous Storyville albums with Danish organist Kjeld Lauritsen, Nightfall and Daybreak. Here he performed standards related to the two times of day. Green Moss Black Sand goes deeper, with echoes of the spiritual seeking of John Coltrane. The music is spare, not a note wasted, matching terse titles such as: "Fragile Growth," "Spring Water," "Lava", though the underlying threat of seismic volatility keeps listeners on their toes. Along with Sigridur Hulda Sigurdardottir's excellently chosen artwork, it conjures up a feeling of actually being there.
Chris Mosey, AllAboutJazz
It has become a Lee Konitz-like album, based on Flosasons light alto saxophone. Janssons way of playing is perfectly representing the American tradition with a slight touch of “Nordic”. Fonnesbæks virtuoso bass-play is well combined with Lars Janssons son, Paul Svangberg by the drums. Jazz with a special “bluesy” and “folksy” vibe – a Nordic sound with a characteristic mix of grandeur and minimalism.