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Post details: Somneroy's Mesh

Somneroy's Mesh

When I was in college, the Prague jazz scene was struggling in an intellectual twilight of the decaying communist regime. Hidebound apparatchiks had never much enthusiasm for free flowing art forms. But there was one band whose performance was shining through any tarpaulin that the overzealous censors tried to pull over it. It was called Naima and besides the standard trio of piano, bass and drums it featured rather unusual combination of electric violin and saxophone. The sound of this quintet was out of this world - riveting, engaging and sparkling as a pint of vintage Cabernet rolling playfully in a Riedel Vinum glass. Their adventures in the land of harmony filled you with that kind of inflammatory beauty that made you wanna get up and tear the benches off their bolts and hurl them into the Universe together with some choice primordial screams.

But alas, all that syncopation took place in the mid 80s - there was no YouTube and no recordable CDs then - and the communist recording industry wasn't exactly gaga over projects that made little effort to celebrate heroic achievements of Lenin and Stalin, not to mention the fact that the whole genre of jazz was still viewed as a poster child for the Western decadence. Hence no recordings of these amazing journeys have ever been made available to public. If any existed, they disappeared in the tumult of the modern world without a trace. Often when I search the racks in the CD store, I wonder how many hidden gems have been hiding undiscovered and unreleased in the vaults of private collections and archives.

And that's how it is with everything on this planet. Not every great idea makes it to the market and, conversely, commercial success is not a guarantee of quality. If you want to find something unique and refreshing, you may have to open your eyes and search in places well off the beaten path.

I went to Florida recently with a friend of mine and took tons of photos there. Tampa, Naples, Miami, the Everglades, the Keys - the whole enchilada. But my very favorite photograph of the whole trip did not showcase one of these magnets of tourism industry bathing in the splendor of Florida sunshine. It was taken at night and with nothing more attractive in it than the back a garden variety hotel in Miami Beach.

Yet - possibly because it does not have any recognizable dominant to distract you with - it exudes an unusual air of subdued tension, the natural anarchy of a tree portrayed against a stern backdrop of concrete functionalism. What a strange combination thought I - but at the end of the day it turned out surprisingly well - kind of like mixing the sound of saxophone and the electric violin on that poorly lit stage in totalitarian Czechoslovakia.

When I was looking at that photograph at home a couple of weeks later, it occurred to me that "Somneroy's Mesh" would be a great name for it. Mind you, I do not know any Somneroy, living or dead, Google does not know what somneroy is (which actually is a remarkable feat), yet - as I was looking at the picture - those words spontaneously popped in my mind without any indication what they might mean or where they came from. No memory was associated with them. But I bet they came from the same rogue lobe which is responsible for placing violins and saxophones on the stage next to each other. That lobe which doesn't care whether things make sense.

And you know what - sometimes it works out better that way.



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