8. september 2017

Olga Konkova & Jens Thoresen
Old Songs

Om utgivelsen

For the 2nd time around I’m thrilled and honored to
be asked to write liner notes about this duo
extraordinaire. Their first album, “December
songs” released in 2016, is a true masterpiece in
every way, but impressively, they have already
managed to produce another one. In fact the
recording you are about to listen to is even further
up the scale of musicality, creativity, beauty and
The recipe of their collaboration is the same as on
the first release: breathe new life into old and
famous tunes. Last time they picked Christmas
carols, on this one they put jazz standards under
surgery, meaning reharmonizing the chords,
changing melodies, using different feel, tempi and
grooves than the tunes normally are played in.
Both Olga and Jens are masters in creating those
“new compositions”.
I can’t express in words how much I love and
appreciate the work of these two amazing
The richness in sound, harmony, improvisation and
interplay gives a wonderful synergy effect and
makes the 2 instruments merge into something
much larger than the sum of its parts.
The album opens with Thoresen alone and
immediately grabs your attention with a full bodied
jazz guitar tone of excellence. Throughout the
album his lyric melodic lines are elegantly
executed and his chord voicings sounds fresh, hip
and complex.
Him being a real rhythmic authority gives a deep
grounded, forward motion to the music and his
trebly high pitched notes here and there give
sparkle of light.
In the tune “Blue In Green”, which is by the way
one of my all time favourite standards, Jens
performs the whole track by himself, showing the
vast broadness of his musicianship, playing on
many different facets in an outstanding way.
Konkova also has her solo performance tune,
“Sol”, and it’s the closing of the album.
Her interpretation of “Here Comes the Sun”, by
George Harrison and “The Beatles”, is no less that
ingeniously done. The virtuosity, the independence
between left and right hand, the groove, flow and
power is sensational. It’s a roof lifter moment.
In comparison with the expressive “Sol” and the
rest of the tracks, Olga plays a different role in the
duo: her comping is more relaxed, her melodies
are slower and haunting, always reacting to every
single little move the music takes. Her presence in
the music and the improvisational capacity she has
is monumental.
I sincerely hope Olga and Jens will keep on
making duo recordings in the years to come.
Thank you for the wonderful music the two of you.

Per Mathisen


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