Arbenz, Hart, Känzig: Conversation #2: Oracle / Conversation #3: Neologism

Kyle Simpler BY

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Arbenz, Hart, Känzig: Conversation #2: Oracle / Conversation #3: Neologism
While much of the world was in lockdown and many musicians didn't have a chance to play live, Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz found a way to keep his creative juices flowing. He envisioned a series of twelve albums, each featuring musical conversations between a different group of musicians. Conversation #1: Condensed (Hammer 2021) featured guitar, trumpet, and drums. Conversation # 2: Oracle and Conversation # 3: Neologism presents different musical lineups together in a two-album package.

Arbenz is an excellent drummer who has performed with the trio Vein, along with recording and performing with artists such as Kirk Lightsey, Bennie Maupin, Andy Sheppard, and Dave Liebman, among others. He also has a strong classical background and has made a name for himself in classical music as well.

Conversation #2: Oracle features a duo with Arbenz on drums and percussion along with Jim Hart on vibes and marimba. Heiri Kaenzig is added on bass for Conversation # 3: Neologism. The musicians create a modern sound that has a unique and appealing quality.

Although the instrumentation is almost identical on both albums, the overall sound and feel are different. Arbenz working together with Hart on Conversation # 2: Oracle creates a musical interaction that brings the listener into their own private conversation. With Conversation #3: Neologism, however, Känzig's bass creates a more driving, jazz feel.

The compositions here aren't all uniform stylistically. Some songs, such as "Rhenos," have a solid groove, providing a canvas for improvisation. Other songs, such as "Between Times," have a melodic, somewhat chill ambience. Even the slightly more avant-garde sound on a song such as "Jammin' In The Children's Corner" seems more playful than experimental.

While the performances are rooted in jazz improvisation, the compositions also have an underlying world music feel. This is clearly evident on the song "Wooden Lines." The percussion here gives hints of Latin, African, and Oriental music. This isn't surprising considering that along with his classical and jazz background, Arbenz also studied at Cuba's University of the Arts, where he developed an interest in Afro-Cuban and Oriental rhythms.

Most of the selections are original compositions, but there are two Thelonious Monk songs, "Epistrophy" and "Evidence." Conversation #2: Oracle also features Miles Davis' "Freedom Jazz Dance," which also appeared on Conversation #1: Condensed. Arbenz plans to record this song with every group he uses in the series. As he puts it, "it's very interesting for me to see how the possibilities to play this tune change with the participating musicians."

Arbenz's project is in full-swing. So far, each album has been a successful venture and Arbenz has given listeners a lot to talk about. Also, the albums are available in all formats including vinyl, and he has more music recorded and ready to go. It will be interesting to see where the conversations take us.

Track Listing

Triptych; Wooden Lines; Homenaje; Freedom Jazz Dance; Between Times; Evidence; Ramprasad; Jammin' In The Children's Corner; Ode To The Sentimental Knowledge; Rhenos; Grace Of Gravity; Epistrophy


Florian Arbenz: drums; Jim Hart: drums; Heiri Kaenzig: bass.

Album information

Title: Conversation #2: Oracle / Conversation #3: Neologism | Year Released: 2021 | Record Label: Hammer Recordings

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