Branko Arnsek Sextett:
Move Closer!
Jürgen Spieß
The debut album Move closer! of the Branko Arnsek sextet is a summary of the many years of musical work of their band leader. For this purpose, the Stuttgart bassist Branko Atrnsek has gathered six young musicians around him who can handle the material, which includes influences from the Balkans to Cuba in a modern jazz guise.
The newly founded Branko Arnsek sextet moves in ways that can be understood as traditional without any hesitation. Based on the tradition of jazz, exciting experimentation between the themes is the order of the day. Balanced solo contributions mix with dynamic sound patterns, with excursions into free space and into Afro-Cuban folklore being caught up again and again by a pulsating and swinging rhythm. At the same time, this music is entirely contemporary. Because although the shell is given, nothing essential is set. And last but not least, there is something else that convinces with this album. The improvisation. Here each of the participating musicians reveals their personal view of the fusion of jazz and Cuban music. The drum eruptions of Michael Mischl on drums and the Cuban Reinier Ceruto on the congas and batas are supported by bassist Branko Arnsek, pianist Fran Eberle and on four tracks by the Cuban singer Johana Jo Jones. At the latest when she gets her act together with her performances sung in Spanish, the connection between the different musical cultures is sealed. A two-piece wind section with Anton Mangoldam alto saxophone and Janos Löber on trumpet provide the necessary spice.
The album proves that in contemporary jazz it is no longer necessary to do without groove and functional harmony in order to create something new. Within an ensemble geared towards collective joy of playing, melismas from the North American R&B genre come together alongside the art of Cuban improvisation.