Improvisational Four: Piano Improvisations Inspired by Joni Mitchell (2009) by Olga Konkova

Categories: 2009 and Music.

I was actually looking for a different Konkova album when I found this. Being a pretty big fan of Joni Mitchell and not remembering why I was looking for Konkova (but generally liking piano jazz), I thought: this should be right up my alley.

Well, it is. Konkova strays way, way out on most of these pieces with my ears only really hearing “Woodstock” and “Both Sides Now” when I’m not looking at the track list. As you know, I like radical covers and I appreciate Konkova using these pieces merely as inspiration and not as constraints.

As for her playing, Konkova is all over the place: she recalls various jazz traditions (I hear a little stride in there somewhere I think, and I also hear Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett) but also goes completely atonal on occasion. She’s the kind of pianist who appears aware of both the past and the present, which is something I really appreciate.

This is, on the whole, everything I like about a jazz album inspired by popular music. Great stuff.


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