Album Review
Branko Arnsek: Move Closer!
Kyle Simpler By Kyle Simpler
February 22, 2023

Branko Arnsek: Move Closer!

Latin music has always been a significant component of jazz. Practically any jazz musician needs to play some form of Latin music, and Branko Arnsek is no exception. Born in Slovenia and raised in Germany, he has made a name as a bassist, composer and educator. He studied at the Swiss Jazz School in Bern where he was exposed to a variety of musical styles. His album Move Closer! highlights various influences, the most important of which is Cuban.

The driving rhythm of the opening track, "Becanovic," moves through various jazz flavors from modern to big band also provides an excellent introduction to the musicians' skillful playing, including Arnsek on bass, János Löber on trumpet, Michael Mischl on drums, Anton Mangold on alto saxophone, Frank Eberle on piano, and Reinier Ceruto on percussion.

While the music on this album does show a variety of musical influences, Latin music is the most evident. Many of Arnsek's compositions have been inspired by the music of Cuba, and this element is further accented with Johana Jo Jones's vocals. Songs such as "No Sabes" and "Balanza" feature a soulful jazz groove, with the Spanish lyrics adding a Latin flavor. "Charlie," presents a solid son cubano feel, reminiscent of The Buena Vista Social Club.

Although Cuban music is prominent here, jazz is at the forefront of Move Closer!. Songs such as "Obatala" and "Delay" feature some serious straight-ahead jazz, while others such as "Sirba me da" and "D'Avinci" have a more modern jazz sound. Whatever style they are working with, there is plenty of room for improvisation. These are serious jazz musicians with some excellent chops.

Arnsek is recognized for his contributions to Latin jazz, and is considered "one of the best bassists in the field of Cuban music in Germany. Move Closer! demonstrates his skill not only as an ambassador of Cuban music but as a true jazz artist as well.
Track Listing

Bečanović; No Sabes; Obatala; D'Avinci; Charlie; Balanza; Sirba Me Da; Delay; J*A*Z*Z.

Branko Arnsek: bass; Frank Eberle: piano; Anton Mangold: saxophone, alto; János Löber: trumpet; Michael Mischl: drums; Reinier Ceruto: percussion; Johana Jo Jones: voice / vocals.
Album information

Title: Move Closer! | Year Released: 2022 | Record Label: 59music