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Thursday, May 21, 2020

Album Review: Florian Arbenz - Convergence

Florian Arbenz (drums); Jorge Vistel (trumpet); Maikel Vistel (tenor sax); Jim Hart (vibes); Nelson Veras (guitar); Rafael Jerjen (bass).

Well, you couldn't get much more international than this! The leader is Arbenz - a Swiss drummer - he has some tasty rolls (Swiss - get it?). A couple of Cuban horns, an English vibraphonist, a Brazilian guitarist and an Aussie on double bass. The end result proves that music, and jazz in particular, really is a universal language.

The eight extended tracks are varied in mood ranging from the melancholic to boundary pushing extremes but with a lot of intriguing byways in between. From Django to Coltrane, Henry Threadgill and Steve Coleman it is compulsive listening. The various cultural influences are absorbed but not allowed to dominate. This isn't a battle royal or a musical World War III but six musicians interacting intuitively.

Arbenz, perhaps better known as part of the trio VEIN, lets us know that Switzerland, contrary to Harry Lime in The Third Man, has given the world much more than the cuckoo clock.

Jim Hart, living up to his rising status in the DownBeat polls, keeps the UK flag flying. The two Cuban's give credence their homeland's jazz roots Veras is from Brazil - he plays guitar and plays it good - whilst Jerjen proves that Australians do more than play cricket. If we were to draw parallels then maybe Jerjen is Steve Smith.

An album well worth checking out.
Lance.

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