The duo album “Fairytales” with Radka Toneff and Steve Dobrogosz is the best-selling Norwegian jazz album ever. Long out of print, the classic album has been reproduced on 180-gram vinyl with sound quality from the master tape long considered lost. A Norwegian jazz masterwork is the perfect Christmas gift for jazz lovers.
Fairytales, the late Norwegian singer Radka Toneff’s most appreciated and well-known album, will take your breath away with its immediacy and clarity. Together with pianist Steve Dobrogosz, this duo explores a number of tunes in an unusually subtle and reflective way, making the recording outstanding among vocal/piano duet albums. Unfortunately, this was to be Radka Toneff’s last studio recording, released just a few weeks before her tragic death in autumn of ’82. This became the only duet album she made with American pianist Steve Dobrogosz.
In third verse of “The Moon is a Harsh Mistress”, Toneff has a tremor as she sings “I tripped and missed my star,” and “I fell and fell alone”. It sounds like the voice is going to burst, as if the song is almost on its way to crying, as if everything is falling into the abyss. But she is by no means losing the grip. She has completely control,” said producer Arild Andersen (73) listening to the playback of the original master band in 2015, 33 years after the recording session. Andersen himself is a significant figure within Norwegian jazz history the past half century. When the original digital recording equipment accidentally was found at Ringve Museum of Instruments in Trondheim a while back you could hear a hopeful sigh over the lunch table among jazz enthusiasts in the record company Grappa Records. Could it, regardless of the miserable condition of the original tapes, be possible to restore the sound with the rediscovered recording equipment?
Grappa Records spent their time well and created the new vinyl pressing with refurbished original audio from the master tape, carefully put together by hi fi suppliers Duet Audio and Midas Reference.
Radka Toneff herself never experienced the record’s success. A cool October night, just eight months after the recording session, her life ends in the woods at Bygdøy, Oslo.
Related: Døla Jazz – Highlights
About Radka Toneff
Ellen Radka Toneff (25 June 1952 – 21 October 1982) was a Norwegian jazz singer, daughter of the Bulgarian folk singer, pilot and radio technician Toni Toneff. She was born in Oslo and is still considered one of Norway’s greatest jazz singers.
Toneff holds a very special position in the Norwegian jazz history. With her moderate, but intense expression and her discerning musicianship, she made a deep impression on many people. Her highly personal and original qualities, where she combined influences from her father’s musical heritage in Bulgaria with a range of influences from, among others, jazz and rock, led her to become a beacon for singers both in Norway and internationally.
A Norwegian Jazz Masterwork, written by Tor Kjolberg