May 25, 2024

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CD review: Søren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbæk – The Touch 2022: Video, CD cover

With “The Touch” Sren Kristiansen and Thomas Fonnesbk present their take on a classical piece of jazz, playing the music of Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning rsted Pedersen – classical but improvised! Oscar Peterson & Niels-Henning rsted Pedersen OP and NHP gave us something unique and unforgettable, just as the classical composers did and still do.

Being the world’s greatest virtuosos on piano and double bass respectively, their immense technique and ‘Touch’ made them unique. Their collaboration was likewise special because they were equals. For instance, Oscar Peterson’s arrangement for “On The Trail” (Great Connection, 1971) was presumably written because he had found a bassist that could keep up both musically and technically. OP & NHP gave us something extraordinary and unforgettable, exactly like the great classical composers did and continue doing – and now Kristiansen and Fonnesbk share their idea of how it could be played today.

The ultimate technical and musical challenge The music of OP & NHP is maybe the most challenging repertoire that exists in classical jazz. It requires ‘The Touch’ The nuanced, personal touch the soft, almost inaudible accompaniment and an effortless technique. Sren Kristiansen describes the process: “Exactly like in soccer, The Touch is something you practice. When you play piano or the double bass you need to be able to control the instrument to express yourself freely in the moment.” Sren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbk Sren Kristiansen is one of the best and most acknowledged pianists in Denmark.

Born and raised on the small Danish island r he became a pianist in Jesper Thilo’s quartet at a very young age and later on he toured in Denmark and all over Europe with a number of great classical American musicians. Sren Kristiansen is famous for his great technique, phenomenal swing, and vast amount of repertoire. An unusual musician one of the few of his kind in Denmark. Thomas Fonnesbk was the obvious choice as bassist to The Touch, and he is one of the youngest Danish bass players who continues the virtuosity which NHP was the first bassist to introduce. There is a wildness and energy in Thomas Fonnesbk’s musical style that is very unusual. Unorthodox, but technically perfect.

1. Soft Winds (5:14)
2. Nigerian Marketplace (7:00)
3. On the Trail (5:43)
4. Love Ballade (4:55)
5. Night Child (7:23)
6. On Danish Shore (6:02)
7. Wheatland (6:27)
8. There Is No Greater Love (6:44)
9. Hymn to Freedom (2:17)

Søren Kristiansen, piano
Thomas Fonnesbaek, double bass

The Touch | Søren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbæk | Storyville Records

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