Cully Jazz festival 2016 – Switzerland gets down to bizniz (day 3)

AKKU Quintet – Chapiteau, Cully, 10/4/16


@J-C Arav

Supporting a very traditional jazz vocalist, (Dianne Reeves), the Akku Quintet played as a very untraditional ‘jazz’ quintet – holding their weight very well as the alternative, slightly dark option on the Cully musical menu. A year ago the band were described as a work in progress, today the quintet comes across as a well-oiled machine full of maturity and articulation.

Underpinned by a definite focus on rhythmic and repetitive elements laid down essentially by the drums and keyboards, this quintet is not in a hurry. Their spacious, unhurried approach leaves plenty of room for interplay between all members who get to shine in totally different ways at very different times.



@J-C Arav

The most attention-grabbing sound is Markus Ischer’s electric guitar which verges towards the psychedelic and is played out to full effect, fuelling the terms ‘jazz rock’ and ‘jazz fusion’ that the band is often labelled with.

Some of the sound particles in the Akku atmosphere are made of of bleeps, hallucinogenic wails, squeaky outbursts. Music to immerse yourself in like a rich, pulsating heart-beat which occasionally slows down, skips and jerks. As Jonas Fehr’s live visuals suggest, the molecules are in gradual full expansion. Expect a new LP from Akku Quintet in spring 2017.

Some questions and answers with AKKU Quintet drummer and bandleader, Manuel Pasquinelli:
Describe the musical dynamics within the quintet

@J-C Arav

Manuel Pasquinelli: We are a quintet with saxophone, but the the sax is not the only leading instrument. The focus on an instrument changes all the time. We are all leading at different times, each member influences the whole thing. Groove and mood are as important as the solos. A solo is always part of the composition and leads from one part to the other. We try to create a piece of music as a journey. We leave space and don’t always play everything we could. We don’t tell a prefabricated story to the listener, so that the listener can derive their own story or mood.

Do you think you fit easily into the ‘jazz’ genre?

Manuel Pasquinelli: People often say to me “I don’t usually like jazz, but I really like what you do”,  so I think that ‘jazz’ is maybe not the right word to describe our music. It’s minimal, ambient, rock with the playfulness of jazz, influenced by different kinds of music (from Nik Bärtsch to Steve Reich, Yann Tiersen, Pink Floyd and beyond).

Akku Quintet “Molecules”

Band members:

Manuel Pasquinelli – drums & composition
Michael Gilsenan – sax
Markus Ischer – guitar
Maja Nydegger – keys
Andi Schnellmann – bass
Jonas Fehr – live visuals

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