More evidence of the current strength of the Icelandic scene, Matthiasson’s cracking debut album benefits from the presence of that excellent saxophonist Jóel Pálsson. The whole pin-bright ensemble interprets Matthiasson’s eight characterful originals with a striking post-Jarrett capacity to move from lyrical and deeply introspective moments to passages of freshly turned exhilaration and affirmation (sample “24/7” and the now pumping, now meditative “Festi”).
Following three years studying in New York, Matthiasson recently moved back to Reykjavik. His big sound, wide-ranging rhythmic capacities and broadly spun, freshly melodic approach to writing should soon ensure him further international exposure.
Matthiasson (b, elb); Jóel Pálsson (reeds); Helgi R. Heidarsson (reeds); Snorri Sigurdsson (t, flh); Kjartan Valdemarsson (p, elp); Magnüs Trygvason Eliassen (d) & others. 2018.