NEW RELEASE – ARBENZ/KRIJGER/OSBY
Ain’t no jive talkin’.
Florian Arbenz (drums, percussion), Greg Osby (alto saxophone, soprano saxophone), Arno Krijger (organ)
on May 1, 2022 at Hammer Studios, Basel
as SR-9 in 2023
Freedom Jazz Dance
Seven Steps To Heaven
I Loves You Porgy
Florian Arbenz knows very well that the DANCE part of the title of Eddie Harris’s signature tune Freedom Jazz Dance was not a random but deliberate choice, as much so as FREEDOM. Up until now, we have enjoyed nine versions by the Swiss drummer, three to go. It is included on each of Arbenz’s twelve-part Conversations series of albums with musicians of all creeds and scenes. A wondrous, hilariously ambitious and multifaceted project that to date has delighted many jazzophiles, more so since Conversations is also released on vinyl. Each version of Harris’s freewheeling groove anthem is marked by original rhythmic and harmonic discoveries.
Yet again, on #9: Targeted featuring longtime Arbenz collaborator Greg Osby and Dutch Hammond organist Arno Krijger, Arbenz offers an interesting interpretation. Before the Basel-based percussionist commences with his muscular, layered jazz rock groove, Osby vigorously introduces the triangle of freedom, jazz and dance on soprano sax, picking up a short while later during their greasy excursion into Harrisland with hi-octane jumps on, over and right through the fence. Krijger follows suit and, free as a bird and freed from ch-ch-changes, oozes liberating energy.
Sure enough, Victor Feldman’s Seven Steps To Heaven (remember Lonnie Smith’s version?) kicks it up a notch. Like companion piece Freedom Jazz Dance, it is cut and deboned like an ox and subsequently the meat is seasoned and grilled, bon appetit. A classy case of deconstruction and rebuilding. Gritty and crunchy, it merits definition as neo-Tony Williams Lifetime-ish. (Remember Emergency?) Once more, it features an appropriate introduction, here in the form of West-African-tinged percussion. In fine and fiery form, Krijger cuts loose and performs his album highlight.
Throughout, the prolific organist is an incisive storyteller and sound wizard, his mind constantly focusing on the big picture. Acclaimed in Europe, it should be only a matter of time until his prowess is equally valued by American aficionados.
Dreamy and fairylike, Arbenz’s Sleepy Mountain sets the alarm at half past six, so you can just stay still and doze. Elves are awakened by Osby’s flexible alto sax story, which resembles the flight of the eagle, the sound of the flapping of its wings echoing and carrying across green and foggy hills. The extremely tranquil take on Gershwin’s I Loves You Porgy (remember Miles Davis famously covering no less than 3 tunes included here?) focuses on Osby’s hushed soprano playing. The sanding of his tone and the backdrop of Krijger’s eerie David Lynch slash John Carpenter-sounds make it all the more poignant.
Listening to #9: Targeted, one gets the distinct feeling that the rapport of this intriguing ‘organ’ trio is such that they would come up with something original and spontaneous by every new visit to the studio. Or live stage, a situation that is eagerly awaited.
Find Conversations #9: Targeted here.