Viktoria Tolstoy
Jacob Kalrzon

Swedish singer Viktoria Tolstoy was born in the small town of Sigtuna, near Stockholm, in 1974, but she has Russian blood in her veins. Her great-grandfather, who is a son of world famous writer Leo Tolstoy, grew up in tsarist Russia. Seeking help in Sweeden for a nervous illness, Viktoria’s great-grandfather fell in love with the daughter of his doctor, married her and settled in Sweden. Since then the ancestors of Viktoria who is great-great-granddaughter of the legendary novelist, live in Sweden.

Her father, a Swedish jazz musician, took his daughter’s musical education in his own hands and introduced her to the world of jazz. In the middle of the 1990’s, while singing in a club in Stockholm, Viktoria received her first record deal offer. Her debut album Smile, Love and Spice, for which her father composed a few songs, quickly drew the attention of the leading Swedish jazz musicians such as Arne Domnerus, Putte Wickman and Svante Thuresson. Less than two years after, her pop-oriented album For Alskad – Too Loved hurled her to the top of the chart, making her a star at home almost overnight.

Though there are many beautiful singing voices in jazz today, Viktoria Tolstoy is one of a kind. A great melodramatist of jazz, she makes happiness sound fragile and threatened, and bitterness sweet and enchanting.
Her latest album A Moment Of Now is her most frank recording yet – for one simple reason: “Jacob [Karlzon] and I are the concept this time,” says Viktoria. Indeed it is an intimate album by the duo that focuses on their musical partnership. Karlzon has been Tolstoy’s trusted companion on her band projects for almost 15 years now, his playing thrives on nuances, transitions, ambiguities – be they inspired by classics such as Grieg or hard rockers the likes of KoRn.
The songs in A Moment Of Now, as Tolstoy explains, are “songs we’ve heard a lot in recent years, and that imposed themselves on us, but also some that were entirely new to us and were really a challenge”. This has resulted in a selection that sounds entirely coherent and as if created especially for these two musicians, even though its component parts come from the most diverse, stylistic, and often surprising backgrounds. From soul-pop in Stevie Wonder’s Send One Your Love to the jazzy Shadow And Light by Joe Zawinul, Red Rain by Peter Gabriel and Phil Collins’ Against All Odds.

Beyond global hits like these or Alanis Morissette’s biggest success Hand In My Pocket, the album also includes new discoveries like Satisfied from the almost-forgotten funk virtuoso Lewis Taylor and Deep River from Norwegian jazz saxophonist Benedik Hofseth.

The songs in A moment of now come from various places but are unified by their similar sound – clean but also very powerful. The heavy and complicated are turned into light and simple and the duo’s performance shows each composition in a different light