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Convergence is the new international band of Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz, known from his collaborations with sax players Greg Osby, Dave Liebman, Andy Sheppard, and Wolfgang Puschnig. This sextet features the Cuban Vistel brothers – Jorge on trumpet and Maikel on tenor sax, both were introduced to Arbanez by Osby about twenty years ago in Havana, Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras, British vibes player Jim Hart, and Australian double bass player Rafael Jerjen (often subbed by Swiss Heiri Känzig).

The debut album of convergence suggests an inclusive perspective of modern jazz, spiced by Cuban, Brazilian, and West-African colors, and inspired by great drummers-bandleaders from Art Blakey and Max Roach to Jack DeJohnette and Peter Erskine. Arbenz claims that Convergence reference points span John Coltrane, Henry Threadgill, Lester Bowie, and even Django Reinhardt, but the end result is less urgent and less intense, and certainly not leads to the revolutionary eras of these innovative musicians.

The rhythm section of Arbenz, Jerjen, and Hart offers a hard-swinging, driving force to the playful and always elegant articulations of the Vistel brothers and Veras, and the arrangements of the eight pieces leave enough space for individual solos of all the musicians. The interplay sounds effortless, highlighting the emphatic affinity that this sextet has developed in the studio, a party-like atmosphere that focuses on a relaxed fun spirit, with no attempt to push the boundaries too much but offering engaging melodies like the touching ballad «Nocturne».

Eyal Hareuveni   

Jorge Vistel (tp), Maikel Vistel (ts), Nelson Veras (g), Jim Hart (vib), Rafael Jerjen (b), Florian Arbenz (dr)

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