13 October 2012
All to Oslo
This may be the best jazz club in the Scandinavia. Maybe the world. Certainly I like it. I’m in Oslo and the Nobel prizes for science have just been announced in the last week and the Ghanaian Ashanti crown jewel have just been stolen from the lobby of a local hotel. Norway is rich but it also seems to punch strongly for a country with only 4.5 million people. It’s something I feel in Europe with plenty of small nations. Australia may be out of the way but we should expect to have significant influence with a decent population and wealth, but we stubbornly remain in thrall to one or other great power or political thought pattern. Just think of the future of our jazz school in context of the cult of management and economy and dread. This jazz club, the Victoria Nasjonal Jazzscene, is virtually across the road from the Parliament building and I someone suggested it receives government funding, perhaps like a national jazz theatre. It certainly looks like a repurposed theatre. Decent stage, tiered cabaret-styled seating at back and café tables up front; a few boxes and low lighting and several bars and a garderobe and great stage lighting and a digital mixer and a linear array and foldback that Lauren Kinsella praised. Not a pristine environment, but musically and socially effective and comfortably dark - and no waiters serving drinks at tables during gigs. Perhaps the best jazz club I have encountered. I’m in this town for just hours and will be here for just days, but I’ve found Bare Jazz, a stunningly attractive and popular jazz CD-store-cum-café. And thus I found the Victoria. Looking very good. A prize due already for jazz in this city. But it’s the performance that ultimately matters, and I’d arrived for a two night series of European Jazz Nights, featuring 3 bands per night. This was the first night.