The jazz scene in Iceland is quite diverse despite a relatively small population. There is a lot of creativity and people like to compose their own music. As elsewhere, many jazz musicians also play in theatres, do background gigs, and teach. Jazz musicians in Iceland have always had to be versatile because of the small scene.

Icelandic musicians in general dare to do their own thing and experiment. The reason could be that the music tradition in Iceland is quite young. The country was indeed quite isolated for a long time. While there is of course Icelandic folk music, the tradition and influence of it is not so strong in contemporary Icelandic music. So it could be said that musicians are free from traditions. But of course, some Icelandic jazz musicians follow the strict tradition of American jazz or other common traditions in jazz. 

There is one international jazz festival, one big band, one club with weekly concerts, and a handful of other venues that occasionally offer jazz. At the moment it's not possible to study jazz performance at a higher academic level in Iceland. But many of the local artists have studied abroad in the Scandinavian countries, in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany or the United States. So they often invite foreign friends to play in collaborative projects in Iceland.

There are many funding options available in Iceland, most of these funds are from the government. Local artists can apply for those to fund their album recordings, concert productions, concert tours and marketing. There is also a variety of international funding to support co-operative projects.

The jazz scene is mostly centred around the capital city, Reykjavík. If there are jazz concerts outside of Reykjavík, it is mostly self-organised by artists who are touring with their project, for example in connection with an album release.

Guide compiled by Solfinna