Desert Island Jazz
Sunna Gunnlaugs (2012)

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(Photo by Hörður Sveinsson)

Sunna Gunnlaugs began taking lessons on the organ as a child growing up not far from Reykjavik in her native Iceland. The piano didn't appeal to her until later, since she associated it with classical music, and found the organ more suitable for playing The Beatles and polkas and Strauss.

Then, as a teenager, Sunna heard a recording by Bill Evans, and that sold her on jazz. In the early 1990s, she enrolled in William Paterson College in New Jersey, so, its being only 20 minutes from Manhattan, she was out listening to a lot of music.

After graduation, Sunna moved to Brooklyn, and began playing in listening rooms such as the Cornelia Street Café and the Knitting Factory. Following the release of her first recording, "Far, Far Away", she was described by the "Village Voice" as an "impressive newcomer".

Sunna's music has a sound reminiscent of ECM—Keith Jarrett, Jan Gabarek or, one of her influences, Bobo Stenson: it's very melodic, elegant and fiery, all at the same time.
Pick Artist Album Song Label
# 1 Bill Evans Moon Dreams Stairway to the Stars OJC
# 2 Miles Davis The Complete Concert: 1964 All of You Columbia
# 3 Keith Jarrett My Song Country ECM
# 4 Joni Mitchell Both Sides Now At Last Reprise
# 5 Ahmad Jamal Cross-Country Tour Darn That Dream GRP
# 6 Bobo Stenson Chiquilín de Bachín Cantando ECM
# 7 Sunna Gunnlaugs Songs from Iceland Uppá Himins Bláum Boga Sunny Sky
# 8 Hank Mobley Soul Station Remember Blue Note
Book Shirley MacLaine, "The Camino: A Journey of the Spirit"
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