The musicians of the German-Italian quintet Just Frank! met in 2012 while studying at the Dutch Conservatorium Van Amsterdam. Since then the quintet toured Netherlands and Germany, and in 2015 recorded its debut album, financed by a crowdfunding campaign, before touring Europe again this spring. The quintet feature a front line of three female sax players – German alto sax player Conni Nicklaus and tenor sax player Olympia Jensen with Italian baritone sax player Giulia Barba, backed by a rhythm section of Italian bass player Gianluca Liberatore and German drummer Eddie Jensen. Today all are scattered around the globe – Nicklaus teaches in Hamburg, Jensen teaches and paints in Berlin, Barba teaches in Bologna, but collaborates with Dutch pop singer Francesca Pichel who is based in London, Liberatore teaches in Mumbai and Jensen enjoys the scenery of Spain and Portugal.
The debut album of this quintet, «Tanz Frank Tanz», radiates the innocent fun that all the musicians had while recording it, highlighting the emphatic-organic interplay and the hard driving rhythmic approach. The basic musical language is jazz but in its most inclusive spirit, spiced with so many ingredients as marching bands, klezmer and post rock, all with healthy doses of humor and irony. This open approach obliterates any attempt to lock Just Frank! In any genre or style.
The propulsive rhythmic approach turns pieces like Niklaus funky «Suzie’s Groove» or Barba «Frank en Stein» or «Frank at the Mall» to dance tunes. These pieces simply call Just Frank! Listeners to move back to the dancing floor. Other pieces like Nicklaus «Fly» or Eddie Jensen «Trauerzug» emphasize the multifaceted, expressive language of the three sax players, all add to its moving, emotional impact.
Conni Nicklaus (as), Olympia Jensen (ts), Giulia Barba (bs), Gianluca Liberatore (b), Eddie Jensen (dr)