Eythor Gunnarsson – Keyboards
Eythor started playing the piano at an early age, taking private lessons on and off until the age of 12. After a brief detour into trumpet lessons,he acquired a YAMAHA organ (like the one Chick Corea used to play) and the course was set for a carreer as a keyboardist. Early influences included rock groups Deep Purple, Led Zeppelin and Gentle Giant. School friend Fridrik Karlsson introduced him to the music of Chick Corea’s Return To Forever, Weather Report and other fusion greats, and the two youngsters soon teamed up with bassist Johann Asmundsson and drummer Gulli Briem to form Mezzoforte. After graduating from college in 1981, music became a full time occupation, Mezzoforte being the main interest, but session work with various pop artists providing the income. The success of his composition Garden Party in 1983 opened up a world of possibilities for Mezzoforte who have since recorded many albums and toured extensively in Europe and Asia.
In 1991 Eythor toured with the legendary American singer Randy Crawford.
Collaborations with many of Iceland’s leading jazz-musicians have made him the most recorded sideman in Icelandic jazz-history. Recently he has been an active member of the group Annes, an all star quintet of Icelandic jazz musicians, and the Einar Scheving Quartet. He has also played with many visiting jazz musicians in Iceland including Frank Lacy, Tommy Smith, Jerry Bergonzi, Chuck Israels, Doug Raney, Jens Winter and many others.
Other musical activities include record production, arranging and keyboard playing for many of Iceland’s top pop and folk artists. Eythor has appeared on close to two hundred records and has received several Icelandic Music Awards both as a Keyboardist and Jazz- Musician, including Jazz Musician of the year 2017.
Fridrik Karlsson – Guitar
Fridrik has been a professional musician since the age of sixteen. He completed a degree in Classical and Jazz/Rock guitar and had his first international success with the group Mezzoforte in 1983 with the U.K. top 20 hit, Garden Party. Fridrik moved to England in 1996 from his native Iceland and has since been involved in various projects including guitar work on the movies Evita and Hercules, the Musicals Jesus Christ Superstar, Saturday Night Fever, Whistle Down the Wind and the Beautiful Game by Andrew Lloyd Weber and Ben Elton. (Fridrik has also done a many of Andrews recording work including:(Cats video Joseph video Superstar video. His TV work includes accompanying world famous singers and artists, such as Madonna, Jose Carreras, J.K. (Jamoriquay), Marty Pellow (Wet Wet Wet), Andy Williams, David Cassedy and Tom Jones. Fridrik has also appeared on various albums and singles including Boyzone, Cliff Richard Westlife, A1, S-Club7 Jose Carreras Michael Ball, Atomic Kitten, Five, Emma Bunton , Hear Say and Roan Keating .Fridrik is also very interested in personal development and relaxation practises and holds a Master Practitioner certification in NLP, Timeline Therapy and Hypnosis and has also studied the Indian Ayurvedic science in depth as well as Yoga and ancient Hawaian Huna.He has created a complete range of Music for well being that he chooses to label as Feel Good Music.
Johann Asmundsson -Bass
Born and raised in Reykjavik Iceland, Johann started playing the bass in his early teens and at age 16 formed the group Mezzoforte with three of his friends. Since Mezzoforte turned up on the international music scene in 1983 the band has toured extensively, appearing in concerts and festivals worldwide. Johann is truly the driving force behind the sound of Mezzoforte and the band’s records provide an overview of his versatile playing, from an energetic slap style, to bouncy solid finger style and lyrical fretless bass. Johann released his first solo recording, titled So Low in 2001 and a second one, Floating, in 2016.
As well as touring and recording with Mezzoforte, Johann has worked with many of Iceland’s leading musicians in various styles and he is a regular member of the backing band for the Reykjavik Gospel Choir. Johann is also an accomplished recording/mixing engineer and runs his own studio in Reykjavik.
Gulli Briem – Drums homepage
Born in Reykjavik, Iceland. As a child Gulli started banging on pots and pans on the kitchen floor of the family home in Reykjavik. Played guitar for two years age twelve and sang in a school band until the original drummer got sick and was forced to leave his chair. Practised drums in the loft of the Briem family residence, while playing in high school bands, where he met Johann Asmundsson a co-founding member of Mezzoforte (1977). The pair soon met Eythor Gunnarsson and Fridrik Karlsson in a Reykjavik music store, where Fridrik sold guitars. Recorded and toured with the band internationally from 1982. First big worldwide success with the group was in 1983 with the U.K. dance funk hit “Garden Party” and the Surprise, Surprise album.
Has been nominated five times as the drummer of the year in Iceland.
Took private drum lessons in Reykjavik at the age of 12. Graduated from The Commercial College of Iceland in spring 1980. Studied classical percussion with Reynir Sigurdsson as well as music theory at the FIH Jazz conservatory in Reykjavik 1980-1983 and The Musicians Institute in Los Angeles in 1992 with Joe Porcaro, Ralph Humphrey, Marc Rio and Joe Bracato. Took private lessons with jazz drummer legend Petur Östlund.
PERFORMED WITH …
ICELANDIC, ENGLISH AND AMERICAN ARTISTS ON STAGE AND IN THE STUDIO, NAMES SUCH AS: Mezzoforte, Earth Affair, Philip Catharine, Madonna, Antonio Banderas & Jonathan Price (in Evita, Movie) Mornington Lockett, Michael Ball, British National Symphony Orchestra, Joe Lynn Turner, Tony Carey, Jan Holberg, Trine Rein, Jim Davidson, Djabe, Steve Hackett, Gunnar Thordarson, Mannakorn, Magnus Kjartansson, Bubbi Morthens, Tómas R. Einarsson, Sléttuúlfar, GCD, Bjorgvin Halldorsson.
GULLI WORKS WITH THE FOLLOWING INSTRUMENT MAKERS
Yamaha drums Europe, Paiste cymbals, Craviotto snare drums, Vic Firth sticks, Remo heads, Slapklatz, Porter & Davis drum monitoring systems
Currently lives in Iceland, touring with Mezzoforte, Djabe & Steve Hackett, Palmi Gunnarsson & Icelandic local artists.
Gulli is an ambassador for the 46664 Nelson Mandela foundation.
Jonas Wall – Saxophone homepage
Jonas Wall lives in Stockholm, Sweden with his family. Jonas has worked as a reed player since early age. He was born 1971 in a small village called Torstuna in Sweden. Ever since he was a little kid, music was in the center of his attention. His father gave him a clarinet when he was 6 years old.
Jonas studied music from that age to his graduation from The Royal Academy of Music in Stockholm in 1997. From the age of 17 he started to work professionally with music. He’s played with a lot of people and in very different kinds of situations, from working in an orchestra on cruise ships to touring in the US with Brian Wilson. And various genres, from classical music like Verdi’s Requiem (playing tuba) to Deep House.
He has been, and still is touring/recording with artists and groups like Nils Landgren Funk Unit, Crusaders, Brian Wilson, Bill Champlin, Clarence Clemmons band SWE tour, Jimmy Bo Horne, Peanuts Hucko, Ray Anderson, Bob Mintzer, Randy Goodrum, Bill Cantos, Alan White, Bjorn Skifs, Magnum Coltrane Price, Frank McComb among others.
Jonas is also a producer, mixer and arranger for other artists. But his devotion in music lies in Funk, Soul, Jazz and HipHop.
Jonas’s own music is an eclectic mix of Jazz, Funk and Urban-soul.
You can listen to it here: Like This, Getting There, Headphonetics
“This is a dream come true, playing music together with a band like Mezzoforte which I grew up listening too is truly an honor and a recognition for me”.
”Everything I did up until now has made me progress as a musician and human being. And it still does, every day!”
Ari Bragi Karason – Trumpet, flugelhorn.
Icelandic trumpeter and flugelhorn player, Ari Kárason has established himself as an exceptional performer within the jazz scene in Iceland and New York. Born in 1989, Ari Kárason began his music studies at the age of 7. Ari studied trumpet at Seltjarnarnes Music School and later classical and jazz studies at F.Í.H. Music School. In 2013 he graduated with honor from the New School for Jazz and Contemporary Music in New York. Ari quickly became well established in Iceland and in 2011 he was awarded as the most promising artists of the year in all categories at The Icelandic Music Awards. Ari’s musicianship is noteworthy and has been characterised with his personal sound and melodic improvisation where he has proved as a commanding soloist. His tone is centered in the jazz scene where he has established himself within the genres of jazz, big band, pop, rock, electronic and hip-hop music. He recently formed a band with some of Iceland’s most heavyweight improvisers called “ANNES” and they have made two albums with great appreciation from critiques and listeners.
Being in the for front of the Icelandic music scene for some years now he is working more and more abroad with his own international band called “MELISMETIQ” (Shai Maestro – Arthur Hnatek – Rick Rosato) and have they been following up their first album and working on another one.
In addition to a flourishing music career is Ari also an award-winning athlete and holds the Icelandic record over the 100m sprint as well as being the team captain for that Icelandic national team in Track and Field.