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Post details: Fruits of Serendipity

Fruits of Serendipity

In the mid 80s, just before our military service, we used to frequent a jazz club Reduta in Prague. Our favorite Chief of Staff there was one Laco Deczi, a trumpetist extra-ordinaire and a tenacious, distinctive man who always held his ground against the stifling regime. And since Deczi was born in Bratislava, with a bit of luck and about one dollar in your pocket, you could get there the complete three course Czechoslovak meal in one sitting: sipping an earthy Moravian wine in the heart of Bohemia while listening to the best jazz Slovakia had to offer.

I can still remember his ferocious playing, his blowing notes from the trumpet as if it were some kind of a brass snowblower and then seeing the notes swirl and whirl through the air like acoustic snowflakes eventually destined to melt on the windowsill of our minds. Deczi wrote most of his music himself and underneath the bluesy harmonies you could often hear a playful wink of the Slovakian folklore. Kind of like that deep and frivolous aroma you find lurking at the bottom of some well aged wines.

Sadly for us, later that decade Deczi emigrated to America and our guided tours through the Land of Sparkling Harmony ground to a complete halt. Over the years, we lost track of his musical endeavors, but when I ended up on the west shore of the Atlantic Puddle, I made several attempts to locate him. In vain. He always seemed to have been in a different corner of this highly multicornered country.

This weekend, there was a theater festival in my hometown, Hradec Kralove, and my niece dragged me out to see some ultra-hyper-modern play in which animals from Noah's times were discussing prospects of the imminent arc travel and few other selected aspects of their animalhood whose pertinence to the story at hand was rather unclear. After the play I felt that my cultural stomach was still a bit on a grumbly side, so I agreed to stay for a free concert that was part of the festival's festivities.

What good could a free concert be - thought I - anticipating a brood of clumsy youngsters whose aspirations would be limited to impressing local impressionable ladies. I was quite amused when one of my niece's friends (whose ilk I was fully expecting to see on stage momentarily) mentioned that it would be Laco Deczi. I thought that I must have inadvertently mentioned Deczi before and now I had become a target of an obvious practical joke. But it was Laco Deczi's concert alright. He was in Czechoslovakia celebrating his 70th birthday.

This goes to show that sometimes you go to the world to look for a rare diamond and after sailing the seven seas and crossing the seven deserts you find the precious stone in your own backyard. A windfall from the tree of serendipity.

Well, not to make this post unnecessarily long: it was a concert well worth skipping the Final of the EURO Soccer Championship for. Deczi's trumpet was as commanding as ever, and as the night descended on a small open courtyard, it seemed that all the people that gathered around the stage, all the leaves on trees, all the cobblestones in the old pavement, and even the wind breathing through the open space between the houses, became part of one giant organism. And the four magicians on an improvised wooden stage became its palpitating heart.

Laco Deczi - trumpet
Eric Meridiano - piano
Noboru Kinukawa - bass
Vaico Deczi - drums



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