The members of the Foreign Legion prove their excellent songwriting skills here beyond any shadow of a doubt. This first permanent testimony to the Foreign Legion's teamwork on piano, bass, vibraphone, guitar and drums has been long overdue. ICELANDIC ALL STAR JAZZ: Árni Egilsson, bass, Árni Scheving, vibes, Jón Páll Bjarnason, guitar, Thórarinn Ólafsson, piano, Pétur Østlund, drums. All compositions on this CD are originals except cut # 7. THE FOREIGN LEGION is not a military unit, but a five man combo of Iceland's top jazz musicians. No one knows how the name originated, but it was probably coined by some wag at the Reykjavik Jazz Festival. In the early 1960s these five jazz players were the vanguard of young Icelandic jazz musicians and with the founding of 'The Reykjavik Jazz Club' great effort was made to organize concerts in Iceland by top American jazz players who would stop over on their way to gigs in Europe. On these visits they often jammed with their Icelandic counterparts, understandably a dream come true for Icelandic jazz lovers and jazz players alike and firmly establishing jazz as a part of the music culture of Iceland. Among the visitors were Art Farmer, Jimmy Heath, Yusef Lateef and many, many more. All the members of 'The Foreign Legion' soon left Iceland to work both in Europe and the USA. Árni Scheving for a year or two, but Jón Páll Bjarnason only recently moved back to Iceland from the USA, and three of them are still living abroad, Thórarinn Ólafsson in Spain, Pétur Østlund in Sweden and Árni Egilsson in USA. As a celebration of old and cherished friendships, 'The Foreign Legion' played a number of concerts to sold out crowds in Iceland in 1992 and again in 2000 under the auspices of the 'Reykjavik Jazz Festival'. The reviews were raves. Their next recording is scheduled in 2006. Árni Egilsson has earned an international reputation as a Double Bass soloist, having performed in his native Iceland, and throughout Europe and the United States. He was brought to the United States by the late Sir John Barbirolli to play with the Houston Symphony Orchestra. While there, he established an enduring relationship with André Previn. A versatile instrumentalist, equally comfortable in jazz and classical venues, he has recorded a classical solo album with Vladimir Askenazy and a jazz album with Ray Brown. Egilsson is highly regarded as a leading session player in the orchestras of the Los Angeles recording studios serving as Principal Bassplayers for most of Hollywood's top composers. He has been a Professor of Double Bass at California State University, Northridge. In recent years he has become well known as a composer of works for Double Bass, Chamber Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra as well as Solo Voice and Choral works.
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