Viktoria Tolstoy and Jacob Karlzon ‘A Moment of now’ (ACT) 4/5

451Swedish singer Viktoria Tolstoy is celebrating a decade of albums on the ACT label and has increasingly diversified her repertoire to include quirky takes on the modern jazz classics, often adding new lyrics penned by Anna Alerstedt, and skilfully weaving in pop tunes with interesting new arrangements. This latest set is arguably the most eclectic of all in terms of the selection, but is equally the most cohesive since it is a pared down affair of pianist Jacon Karlzon who excels in his role here and Tolstoy herself and in this respect reminds one of the Tony Bennett and Bill Evans duet recordings. Among the discoveries is a vocal version of Pat Metheny’s ‘A moment of now’ which was a deeply melodic instrumental original and now receives a delicate accompaniment on piano. The sheer musicality of Metheny’s writing comes shining through here.

On Stevie Wonder’s ‘Send one your love’, the original bass line is performed on piano with guest vocalist Jocke Bergström adding a new dimension engaging in a duet with Tolstoy. Fans of more traditional song fare will not be disappointed with an understated delivery on Cole Porter’s ‘I concentrate on you’ with minimalist piano accompaniment working especially well. Karlzon accompanies the singer on celesta on a inventive interpretation of Pater Gabriel’s ‘Red rain’. The fact that Viktoria Tolstoy struggles with bipolar disorder makes her achievements all the greater. Tim Stenhouse