Mezzoforte (IS)
Mezzoforte (IS)
8/11/24 Metro Music Bar Brno

Mezzoforte IS

Iceland's Mezzoforte, arguably the most distinctive jazz-funk formation ever to emerge from the Nordic country.

Iceland is a place where perhaps every one of its nearly 400,000 inhabitants plays in a band. Björk, Sigur Rós, Gus Gus, a few metal bands and jazz musicians come to mind. And among the foremost of the latter is undoubtedly Mezzoforte, arguably the most distinctive jazz-funk formation to have emerged from the Nordic country. They will be performing at the Groove Brno festival on 8 November at the Metro Music Bar in Brno.

Eyþór Gunnarsson (keyboards), Jóhann Ásmundsson (bass), Gunnlaugur Briem-Gulli Briem (drums) and Friðrik Karlsson (guitars) were 15 and 16 years old when they formed the band in 1977. Their friendship has endured, even though Briem-Gulli Briem left the band last year to pursue a solo career.

They impressed producer Steinar Berg with their unique energy. Together they honed their sound over three albums, where rock, fusion and funk met, before moving to London. There, in 1982, they turned the local clubs upside down, taking over the radio with the single Garden Party and culminating their success with the release of Surprise, Surprise. This was followed by a period of touring, during which they shared the stage with stars of the calibre of Spyro Gyra (they played at Groove Brno last year), Al Jarreau and Weather Report. Their subsequent albums, of which Mezzoforte have made 12 so far, have earned them critical acclaim and a fair amount of commercial success, although they have not been able to match the comet of Garden Party.

But in more than forty years of playing together, they have not lost their unique creative playfulness. Even after all this time, Mezzoforte is still a playground for musicians with an almost extrasensory perception of each other. All this also applies to the current concerts, albeit with a different drummer in the line-up.