In the liner notes to Atomic's second release, Ken Vandermark asks, "Who gives a shit about saving jazz?"
Nobody, and everyone. You see, jazz has always profited (not monetarily) from its constant flux. Its destruction has always been its salvation. Smashing Ornette Coleman's saxophone wasn't an effective PR stunt, and wardrobe malfunctions don't get the attention of jazz audiences. New approaches to music making do. The folks in accounting might only want to remaster the old warhorse, or at least get some university graduate to play "Body And Soul" just like a dead prez.
For those walking the precipice, the act of creating jazz has to be new and it has to maintain their own signature.
This certainly is the case with Atomic, formed in 1999 of Swedish horn players Magnus Broo and Fredrik Ljungkvist alongside the Norwegian rhythm section of pianist Havard Wiik, bassist Ingebrigt Haker Flaten, and drummer Paal Nilssen-Love. The ...full
To claim that such and such a musician proves that jazz is not dead is just as big (if not bigger) a cliché as declaring jazz dead. That said, listening to a group that merrily goes beyond (or around) the technical difficulties of contemporary jazz so as to simply expend their youthful energies and make some noise, still evokes a special kind of pleasure. Furthermore, just because Norway is a cold country doesn't mean the music should be too. It's not for nothing that Ken Vandermark wrote in his over-excited liner notes: Chicago in the winter is probably almost as cold as Oslo.
With a name like Atomic and two albums titled Feet Music and Boom Boom, one could be pardoned for expecting electro-jazz of some brand or other. However, Atomic sports a most traditional trumpet-sax-piano-bass-drums line-up. As the Vandermark reference suggests, what makes this band a joy to listen to ...full