I’ve enjoyed all my conversations with Florian Arbenz. I hope I get to have many more.

Hammer Recordings

Florian Arbenz – drums, percussion; Martial In-Albon – trumpet, flugelhorn, sea shell; Rafael Jerkin – bass; Nils Wogram – trombone; Christy Doran – guitar; Matthias Wursch – glass harmonica (track 4)

My day’s always a little brighter when I get to listen to a new Florian Arbenz album. His last, “Targeted,” made it to my end of year best of list.

During the pandemic Arbenz said he was going to put out twelve albums, each, with very different groups of musicians. INLAND is the tenth in his ‘Conversations ’series.

Trombonist Nils Wogram wrote ‘Jammin ’and it’s quite the tour de force. It sounds like he’s stuttering on his horn; he’ll blow a couple of “blats” and seamlessly takes flight with a beautiful sounding solo into the upper register. He is such a rhythmic player. His pairing with drummer Arbenz sounds fantastic and so does Nil’s overtone singing that closes ‘Jammin.’

You won’t hear Florian Arbenz throw out just rim shots with a couple brushes across the cymbals. He uses all of his drum kit. He is such a nuanced player. He builds these tapestries of rhythm and ideas that sound just perfect playing with, or, underneath anyone.

I had never heard of the Benjamin Franklin invention, the glass harmonica. Franklin was inspired by the sound you get when you run your finger around the rim of a wine glass. Contemporary classical expert Matthias Wursch plays this odd instrument beautifully on ‘Moon Song.’

The glass harmonica, by itself, can sound eerie. With the addition of Arbenz’s percussion, bass, both horns, and guitar; it sounds symphonic. ‘Moon Song ’would make a great soundtrack for a modern film noir.

Guitarist Christy Doran has been playing amazing guitar since the seventies. He’s played with so many of the greats from the free jazz and avant-garde world. His frenetic rock guitar lines fit nicely in ’Connecting.’

‘Fast Lane ’is another Arbenz composition and it’s an uptempo nod to the hard bop jazz tradition. Unison horn lines dominate. Nils Wogram steps out with a killer straight ahead trombone solo. I love the way Doran’s sawtooth guitar crisscrosses the rest of the band. Rafael Jerjen shows us what a masterly bass solo sounds like.

Arbenz has recorded his favorite standard ‘Freedom Jazz Dance ’several times. This version is heavy on the drums. He’s clearly enjoying himself. Martial In-Albion has a bright tone on trumpet and solos marvelously.

I’ve enjoyed all my conversations with Florian Arbenz. I hope I get to have many more.