Sometimes, you have to stray far from home to see what’s right in front of you. For trumpetist Gunnar Halle, the penny dropped while walking the streets of Istanbul in 2013. For almost two decades, Halle had served in a wide range of band constellations. And yet, in all these years, he had never done what seemed so obvious – he’d never recorded an album under his own name and direction. Returning from Turkey to his home of Oslo, Halle knew things could no longer stay the way they were. Less than a year later, he is now presenting his solo debut Istanbul Sky – his most personal project ever.
In many respects, Istanbul Sky is a post-concept-album, with Halle writing and recording pieces without any other concern other than making them sound the best he possibly could. This implied combining all of his different influences, from his jazz roots to his interest in contemporary electronics. It also meant stepping out into the unknown, trying on new approaches and using his voice more than ever. Despite these twists and turns, the album eventually revealed a concept after all – about Halle finding himself as an artist and believing in his instincts. As he puts it himself: “I see this record as the beginning of something new. I don’t know exactly where it will lead me, but one thing’s for certain: I will use my voice more, will compose more music, and produce more music.”