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The Touch

Søren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbæk play the music of Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen




Only time can tell if a musical composition will be considered a “classical” piece by future audiences, but as Danish music critic Søren Schauser has predicted: “In a couple of years we will see pieces by an Ellington or a Peterson in regular concert programs in entirely classical contexts”.

With “The Touch” Søren Kristiansen and Thomas Fonnesbæk present their take on a classic piece of jazz, playing the music of Oscar Peterson and Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen – classical but improvised!


Oscar Peterson & Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen
OP and NHØP 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.


The ultimate technical and musical challenge
The music of OP & NHØP 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. Søren 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.”


Søren Kristiansen & Thomas Fonnesbæk
Søren Kristiansen is one of the best and most acknowledged pianists in Denmark. Born and raised on the small Danish island Ærø 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. Søren 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 Fonnesbæk was the obvious choice as bassist to The Touch, and he is one of the younger Danish bass players who continues the virtuosity which NHØP was the first bassist to introduce. There is a wildness and energy in Thomas Fonnesbæk’s musical style that is very unusual. Unorthodox, but technically perfect.

Søren Kristiansen – piano
Thomas Fonnesbæk – bass

1. Soft Winds
2. Nigerian Marketplace
3. The Trail
4. Love Ballade
5. Night Child
6. On Danish Shore
7. Wheatland
8. There Is No Greater Love
9. Hymn To Freedom

“Overall this all has such an intact, pristine, quality to it and contains a great feel and rapport between the two players as well as an ear for the mood and the sensibility of Oscar Peterson and NHØP. A delight from start to finish” –  Stephen, Marlbank


“Fonnesbæk kaster sig straks ud i et solostykke, der hylder det som vi elsker NHØP for. At spille et voldsomt kompliceret melodistykke, der får højtalerne til at smelte som smør. Kristiansen holder sig ikke tilbage og sidder helt fremme på klaverstolen (…) The Touch er en flot og nutidig hyldest til to af de allerstørste.” – Overgaard, JazzNyt


“Musikken, som har fått undertittelen “Plays the Music of OP & NHØP”, er frisk, livsbejaende, usedvanlig hardtswingende og virtuos. Det er enkelt og greit musikk og tolkninger egna til å fremme sinnets helse.” – Hammerø, Nettavisen


“…en personlig og utmerket plate, som i stedet for å kopiere de to «mesterne» gir oss sine personlige tolkninger (…)  Og sammen har de to laget en utmerket innspilling som hyller Oscar Peterson og Niels Henning Ørsted Pedersen på en fremragende måte.” – Salt Peanuts


“…bassist Thomas Fonnesbæk plays like no one else. He’s lyrical, inventive, and percussive all at the same time. (…) Søren Kristiansen swings with a ferocity… Kristiansen and Fonnesbæk are clearly a superb jazz duo, and this CD needs to be heard. It is simply marvelous. – Bayley, The Art Music Lounge


“Kristiansen has perfectly captured Peterson’s style without a suggestion of plagiarism whilst Fonnesbæk, like NHOP was, is the ideal partner…” – Liddle, bebop spoken here


“Kristiansen provides classy chords (…) while Fonnesbaek delivers…Classy conversations.” – Harris, Jazz Weekly


The Touch should appeal strongly to those who hold that, no matter what the era, to be jazz, things have to swing.” – Tucker, JazzJournal


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