Saturday, 25 February 2012

Marius Neset

I went with a friend to the Spin Jazz Club in Oxford. The obligatory semi-slum, dark paint peeling off distressed walls, banks of unused spots amongst which a brass chandelier hangs impotently, and an overworked bar selling concoctions whose names promise paralysis. A surprisingly wide age range - more so that in the classical concerts.
The star of the show, the 25-year old Dane, Marius Neset, was simply astonishing. He moves like a rag doll high on speed, and plays with a passionate virtuosity, drawing sounds from the saxophone that ranged from singing voices to growling animals, from deep echoes to birds tweeting.  Somehow, he played  duets with himself in a kind of counterpoint. The quartet kept up with him!
I felt as I did when I heard Andreas Scholl, the German counter-tenor, sing for the first time.  Walking on like a gawky schoolboy, he promised little. But the first notes were those of an angel.
It takes only a few moments to know that someone special has arrived.


I have 2 former students working (or in one case being thrown out of work) and one art historian friend in Greece. The situation is dire, and we should not feel superior for not being part of it - at this stage.  It seems bizarre the the old monetarist programme of austerity should be automatically applied to an economy that has no capacity to cope with it. A starving patient is being put on a diet to loose weight. This is a symptom of the bankruptcy of thinking in the worlds of government and finance. Where are the creative alternative analyses that do not predicate growth on a sinking raft of debt?