Ingi Bjarni Skúlason fluidly melds the extreme landscapes of his native Iceland with an innate, resilient melodies that shift like a slideshow of the wild Icelandic terrain.
Ingi Bjarni is a pianist/composer of considerable distinction and finesse. Across the European musical landscape, he builds collaborations that challenge and excite, including projects with friends and colleagues in the Scandinavian countries he has lived in and whose open, artistic culture is closely entwined with that of his Icelandic homeland. This singular musician’s focus produces original works which, while informed by jazz tradition, Nordic folksong and electronica, rise up from a wellspring of meticulously-shaped imaginings – ideas inspired by relentlessly searching improvisation, as well as the people he interacts with in daily life, and also the wonders of the natural environment.
Embracing the infinitely explorable world of the classic jazz piano trio, Skúlason’s first two major albums – Skarkali (2015) and Fundur (2018) – invited listeners into a realm of spacial freedom and vibrant expression; and latest recording Tenging (2019) expands horizons further with a sparkling quintet (trumpet, guitar, piano, bass and drums) which weaves even greater textures and possibilities into his increasing musical vision.
Intuition is uppermost in his music “The excitement is in not really knowing! So rather than intentionally sitting down to compose, I investigate ideas and improvise at length. I might sing whatever comes into my mind at that moment, and play it simultaneously at the piano; or I may focus on a strong rhythm or examine a limited idea – maybe only an interval or two – and improvise on that. These beginnings are then shaped and refined by me, or in conjunction with the ensemble I’m currently working with. ‘Music’ is already here, it’s just like a waterfall – and our creativity depends on how much we lean ourselves into it.”
His dextrous skill, invention and sensitivity at the keyboard shine brightly. “Searching for a direction, I experienced a particularly strong, flowing session; and though I became very hungry, somehow I forgot everything else and was able to keep going, on and on – the music somehow just played through me. Since then, my aim has been to preserve this passion throughout my work.”
It was initially the discovery of Keith Jarrett and Herbie Hancock that was the epiphany leading Ingi Bjarni Skúlason on his resolute path, attaining a degree in Jazz Performance at Den Haag, The Netherlands. From there, he went on to achieve a Masters degree in composition from the University of Gothenburg. Tutors and mentors have included Misha Alperin, Anders Jormin, Helge Lien, Aaron Parks, Eyolf Dale, Eric Gieben, Agnar Már Magnússon and Helge Sunde; and as a bandleader, Skúlason has performed at jazz festivals in Bremen (jazzahead), Hamburg (Elbjazz), Lillehammer, Vilnius, Copenhagen, Reykjavík and the Faroe Islands.
Hear his music- “Fundur” here https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=4&v=augCYwfxUbg
Ingi Bjarni Skúlason piano Valdimar Olgeirsson on bass and Óskar Kjartansson on drums
Inkwell Arts 31 Potternewton Lane Leeds LS7 3LW £9/7 concessions. 25 and under £5
Doors 1pm, music 1.30pm