Norway – Kristiansand and Baerum

Norway, you say? Didn’t I tell you about getting lost, jogging in the snow, that afternoon before we played Club 7 down stairs? Oh, and didn’t I tell you about the time our equipment truck slid off the freeway and onto an icy fjord, and we were two hours late starting the concert? Well, yes, of course, Norway.

When George and I were playing at the Half Note back in 1965, there was a little San Francisco enclave of Norwegians that used to come. It’s starting a little fire glowing in my mind about how wonderful it would be to play in Norway some time, in all that ice and snow and cold. I thought about Saint Olaf college, and Carlton College, in Northfield Minnesota, and all those nieces and nephews of Saint Olaf, warrior king. I played on their basketball courts for four years when I was at Ripon College.  Norway, you say?? Why not Argentina? Why not Italy? Why not France? In fact, why not Germany? Hello!!! The answer is OF COURSE! All of those places. Music is a powerful language and a healing force. I have dreamed of doing music everywhere in the world. Ask me about Skudeneshavn. Small fishing village on the coast of Norway. I love telling Norwegian audiences that this is where I really was born. So yes, Norway, since 1978.

So here we go, making an early run to Norway’s Kristiansand and Baerum, with the “new me” again. That is, the Al Jarreau and the Nord Deutsche Rundfunk Big Band. I would have never set up the schedule so that our second and third performances would be outside of Germany. Germany is home base for the NDR national treasure Big Band. I would have allowed our confidence in this new Ellington program to have a few more concerts at home before going to any other country outside of Germany. It’s kind of like after a good solid opening at home, we jumped right into the deep end.

Pow. Super pow! You guys in Kristiansand and Baerum gave us such a wonderful reaction from outside of Germany, that we came back to Germany for our 4th and 5th nights, with a special confidence about this Ellington program. I’m a bit late with these comments, but I want you to be aware of my special thank you to my Norwegian friends and family.

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