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Banbury Cross

a pillow for lost thoughts...

Post details: Atomic


In my previous life, I must have been a Norwegian. I don't see any other explanation for my completely irrational affection for the Nordic culture. Writing of Knut Hamsun, paintings of Edward Munch, and especially music of Edvard Grieg have always been very close to my heart. And although my physical body longs for warm seas and palm laden islands, my mind has always been at home in the land of cross-country skiing and pensive fjords. I guess that's why the destiny chose to drop me off in the Czech Republic, half way between the Mediterranean and Scandinavia.

I am also not completely averse to jazz, so when I learned that a progressive Norwegian quintet "Atomic" is coming to town, I marked my calendar with an indelible, 100% permanent, acid rain proof, dog bite resistant, extra durable red highlighter.

The venue for the concert was a bit unusual - an Ethiopian restaurant "Twins Jazz" in downtown DC. But from the moment when five strapping, unevenly shaved Vikings took the stage, it was clear that the aroma of African spices will mix with Scandinavian harmonies just fine. The texture of music was sinewy, as if it came straight from the drying fish-racks in Trondhjem, but its raw thirst for life made a blazing mark on the club's atmosphere. The temperature was definitely more Ethiopian than Norwegian. And when the trumpet and saxophone joined forces in long sequences of nearly disharmonic yelps, time became tiled tighter than the staves of the wooden church in Borgund.

Sometimes, when the pianist, Magnus Broo, served his musical mountaineers a smorgasbord of seventh chords, it felt as if they all hopped on a rickety sled and in a mighty jolly fashion tranced their way to the bottom of the fjord. Snow or no snow. And I could have sworn I caught a silhouette of Edvard Hagerup Grieg, sitting cozily in the corner of the bar and chuckling mischievously.


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