Until the arrival of the Sugarcubes, jazz fusion band Mezzoforte was IcelandGÇÖs best-known musical export. The group was formed in 1977 at a Reykjavik high school by Fridrik Karlsson (b. 24 April 1960; guitar), Eyth+¦r Gunnarsson (b. 9 September 1961; keyboards), J+¦hann +üsmundsson (b. 30 March 1961; bass), and Gunnlaugur Briem (b. 8 September 1962; drums). They signed a recording contract with local label Steinar, and with the assistance of Stef+ín S. Stef+ínsson (saxophone) recorded their debut album. Bjorn Thorarensen (keyboards) joined in time for the recording of the bandGÇÖs second long-player. Kristinn Svavarsson (saxophone) was featured on the exuberant GÇÿGarden PartyGÇÖ, which was a Top 20 hit in the UK in 1983. The tune was covered in the USA by Herb Alpert who performed it at half-speed, reportedly because he had learned the piece from a 45 rpm single accidentally played at 33. The follow-up, GÇÿRockallGÇÖ, was only a minor hit but it was adopted as a signature tune by radio chart shows in the Netherlands and UK. For a brief period, the group was based in London and in the mid-80s Mezzoforte played the European jazz festival circuit with vocalists Chris Cameron and Noel McCalla, formerly with Moon and Mike RutherfordGÇÖs group. In 1990, Karlsson released a solo album featuring singer Ellen Kristj+ínsd+¦ttir and members of Mezzoforte. Further Mezzoforte releases took a back seat to the membersGÇÖ outside projects, although the band was officially still in existence at the turn of the new millennium.Portions of Content Provided by Rovi Corporation.
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