Sunday, February 21, 2021

Florian Arbenz / Hermon Mehari / Nelson Veras - Conversation #1: Condensed (April 23, 2021)

2021 sees the launch of an ambitious project from Swiss drummer Florian Arbenz who is set to release 12 albums (or “conversations”) with 12 radically different groups of musicians.

The 1st of this series, recorded from his studio in Basel and accompanied by a feature-length video of the session, features American trumpeter Hermon Mehari and Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras.

Across a career spanning more than 25 years, drummer and percussionist Florian Arbenz has carved out a reputation as not just a skilled musician, but as a creative collaborator.

Whether with the long-standing trio VEIN who have recorded and toured with Greg Osby & Dave Liebman, or with his own project Convergence which brings together musicians from 4 continents, he is not content to sit still.

In 2021, he launches perhaps his most adventurous collaboration yet: a series of 12 albums - or “conversations” - with 12 different line ups.

The thread that joins them all together is his fascination with bringing visionary musicians together and giving them space to express themselves in his studio. Together, they work through a selection of music curated by Florian to suit the individual musical personalities present.

Conversation #1 - subtitled Condensed - sees Florian joined by American trumpeter Hermon Mehari & Brazilian guitarist Nelson Veras.

“I’ve known and played with Nelson for several years and am captivated not only by his highly original and virtuoso playing, but also by his unique character and his great sense of humor. He's a complete player both rhythmically & harmonically so it seemed obvious to get him on board for this series. Hermon, on the other hand, I had never met before our recording session. I had, however, admired his warm tone, open-minded musicality & improvisational skills from afar and am so happy to have finally recorded with him!"

This slightly unusual line up of guitar, trumpet & drums might, at first glance, miss a bass instrument. But despite the challenges, the creativity of the musicians involved, as well as Florian’s addition of custom percussion instruments covering this range, make for a fascinating listen which moves from hard-swinging soloing to dreaming soundscapes. 

1. Boarding The Beat
2. Let's Try This Again 04:57
3. Groove A
4. Olha Maria
5. In Medias Res
6. Vibing With Morton
7. Race Face
8. Dedicated To The Quintessence
9. Circle