Improvisational four

Olga Konkova

This is the fourth volume in Caprice Records innovative recording series Improvisational, a unique series of piano improvisations. This time the Russian/Norwegian pianist Olga Konkova has been given the task of improvising over the songs of Joni Mitchell.

It is in the middle of the night, an empty concert hall, except for a large grand piano and a few microphones. Two people are sitting in the front row, quietly talking about a song by the Canadian singer and guitarist Joni Mitchell, and the meaning of its lyrics. After a short while they part, one walks into a control room, the other goes on stage and sits down in front of the grand piano. The instrument suddenly explodes with harmonies, melodies and rhythms.

The conditions are the same as for the earlier releases in the series: The recording session takes place during nighttime in the concert hall at Nybrokajen 11 in Stockholm, Sweden; and on the same Steinway D as on the other recordings. Besides the pianist, only the producer – who is also the engineer – is present at the session and the theme of the improvisations is not revealed to the pianist until just before the session starts.

Olga Konkova was born in Russia and educated at the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow and at Berklee College of Music in the us. In 1994 she moved to Norway, the same year that she started her professional career. She has played with musicians such as Adam Nussbaum, Gary Husband, Jojo Mayer, Ralph Peterson, Jon Christensen, Audun Kleive, Marilyn Mazur, Bobby Shew and Bill Bruford, just to name a few. She has released five albums in her own name: “Going with the Flow” (Curling Legs), “Her Point of View” (Candid Records), “Northern Crossings” (Candid Records), “Some Things from Home” (Candid Records) and “Unbound” (Alessa Records). She also plays with the Norwegian big band Ensemble Denada and was granted a working scholarship from the Norwegian government in 2007.

Olga is somewhat of a dark horse and could be considered one of the best kept secrets on the Scandinavian jazz scene, in spite of the large number of albums and concerts she has made during the last fifteen years. On this album, in spite of her explosive and passionate expression, she makes some very intimate and sincere interpretations of Joni Mitchell’s best known songs. The music moves unpredictably between sudden fancies and torrents of sound and contemplative melodies and harmonies and is kept together by Olga’s original personality present throughout this recording.

The musical references on this album come not only from American and Scandinavian jazz, but also from classical music, a fact that becomes evident with Olga’s excellent technique. In short, this is an album with a large portion of Russian heart and an equal portion of Scandinavian melancholy!

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Show playlist
    • 1.
      River Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 2.
      Help Me Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 3.
      Big Yellow Taxi Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 4.
      Ladies of the Canyon Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 5.
      Coyote Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 6.
      California Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 7.
      A Case of You Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 8.
      God Must Be a Boogie Man Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 9.
      Woodstock Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 10.
      Little Green Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 11.
      In France They Kiss on Main Street Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
    • 12.
      Both Sides Now Music: Joni Mitchell Text: Joni Mitchell
  • Total playtime
Compact Disc // CAP 21799 // Improvisational // Jazz // Releasedate: 18 November, 2009