Viktoria Tolstoy - Vocals
Krister Jonsson - Guitars
Mattias Svensson - Electric bass, acoustic bass
Rasmus Kihlberg - Drums
Special guests :
Iiro Rantala - Piano
Nils Landgren - Trombone, vocals
The Swedish singer Viktoria Tolstoy actually has Russian ancestry.
Her great-great-grandfather was the writer and novelist Leo
Tolstoy. She recorded her first album at the age of only 20, in
1994. Her voice can encompass pop music, jazz and soul. A long-time
lover of the cinema, her latest disc for ACT reflects that
enthusiasm for the movies. She has opted for a guitar trio rather
than an orchestra to accompany her, believing that it would give
her the freedom to be more herself. Also present on the recording
is the exceptional Finnish pianist, Iiro Rantala, and Viktoria's
fellow-countryman and master of the trombone, Nils Landgren. In her
choice of material Tolstoy has resisted the obvious, for the most
part, and gone for less familiar songs. The CD is all the better
for that decision.
One of the finest tracks is En Man [ Marlowe's Theme] from the film Farewell My Lovely
. The tune has been given Swedish lyrics. Tolstoy is sultry,
Rantala imaginative in his improvisation, and the result is truly
satisfying. Out Here On My Own has a late-night flavour
about it and, as Tolstoy has shown on previous recordings, she can
deliver a lyric with the best of them! Kiss From A Rose is
another stand-out. Viktoria gives it both power and direction, ably
supported by her guitar trio. On more familiar ground, As Time Goes By features a relaxed, articulate performance
from Tolstoy's soul-inflected voice. Rantala contributes a splendid
solo. By the way, the CD cover photo of the singer manages to look
remarkably like the young Ingrid Bergmann, the star of Casablanca, the film from which the song comes, of course.
As for that poignant standard, Smile, Chaplin's tune is
beautifully handled by Tolstoy, accompanied sensitively on guitar.
On the album's opening track, Calling You, the inimitable
Nils Landgren can be heard on trombone, smooth and elegant, as
Viktoria illustrates the strength, clarity and range of her voice.
Her supporting musicians provide just what is needed throughout. I
must say, however, I was particularly taken by the guitarist
Krister Jonsson, a name new to me. This is a versatile musician,
perhaps especially noteworthy on the ballad, Why Should I Care and on Angel, a track with a
Country and Western feel. It seems, though, that he can play in any
All in all, this is a highly listenable collection which reminds us
of the importance of music in enhancing our appreciation of the
cinema. Viktoria Tolstoy and her group have delivered a fitting
tribute to a varied and intriguing selection.