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Sunday 19 February 2012: Golden Xplosion

I went in search of anything golden to blip today, determined I was going to tell you about the brilliant band that I saw last Thursday, but ended up with some disappointing pictures of daffodils. I had pretty much given up hope when, at the end of the day, I was at the top of the house and turned to look out of the window, and there was my golden explosion!

So, highlight of this week was Norwegian saxophonist, Marius Neset, with his band Golden Xplosion at The Spin Jazz Club in Oxford: it was the most energising experience of any gig I've been to in years - the display of virtuosity and musicality was truly astonishing! They are about to release their album also called Golden Xplosion.

I'm not sure how to describe the sound of someone playing music written for 5 saxes on 1 sax and making it sound like 5, and with a variety of time signatures thrown in, but it was a tremendous example of musical brilliance achieved effortlessly and with more vibrancy than I've seen in a long time.

Beautiful melodic motifs were hauntingly returned to, improvisation was exciting and adventurous, and the thrill came from never being quite sure whether you were being taken somewhere sophisticated or primeval.

These are musicians who have music rippling through their bodies: the person, the music and the instrument are indistinguishable, incredible! I'd say they are worth a trip to Norway, or watch out for them at the Swanage Jazz Festival in July or at the Sage in Gateshead at the end of March.

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