Artist : The Brag Pack
Album : Just Braggin’
Released : February, 2012
Label : Stankoffa Music
If you’re fanatic to jazz, what would you like to have most from it? Is it the manic explorations, glittery improvisations, the challenging, unthinkable and unpredictable moves, or the music with free spirit? Is it the bursting, vibrant colors of jazz, the rhythmical path or the blue notes? Or maybe it’s simply just the swing and bebop? Whatever your interest is, here’s a very strong album that will meet your satisfaction. Came all the way from Netherlands, The Brag Pack is ready to take you into a wondrous jazz journey.
The Brag Pack comprises of multi-national talents who started their bond as friends when living in Amsterdam. That includes a shining young star from our own land Sri “Aga” Hanuraga who has 10 magic fingers that can do the wizardous dance over the keys. Besides Aga, the group has Hungarian Dániel Mester (saxes), German Paul Rutschka (electric bass) and Roald Becher from Holland (drums). We are proud to have Aga in this band, but it was Paul Rutschka who actually formed the band. “He is a guy with exceptional musical vision who knew for sure what kind of players would fit the band” said Aga. Paul established the band in early 2011 but the history actually started way back then in 2005 when they got together for the very first time while studying at the Faculty of Jazz at the Conservatorium van Amsterdam. Later they teamed up with Dániel who arrived in Amsterdam in 2009 for taking a Master level. Not long after the group got assembled, they released a 5 track demo EP in May 2011, but only two demo songs were included in the album (Paul’s arrangement “Drive By” and Aga’s “Blues for McCoy”).
It isn’t difficult for them to build their visionary concept since they have been friends for years. But here comes the interesting part of it. When you listen to the album, you’ll notice many flavors fused in together, wrapped by the freedom and intention as one to find a new musical land. “We are the kind of cats who get bored easily.” said Aga. That should be able to explain how they can use the composition as the vehicle for musical exploration to produce different sounds. Another thing that we should know is that the group has various different backgrounds. Paul and Roald had a funk, soul and hip hop background, Paul was even a rapper some years ago, Dániel got a rock and classical music background and Aga used to play progressive rock music. It could be an obstacle for others to find their finest blend as a team but not for The Brag Pack. Besides as closed friends, they also have similar approaches to music.
It took only a year for them to launch their debut album. The making itself was pure fun. There was no time limit in completing the album since the studio where they recorded belongs to Paul. “Nobody around, just the band and the music… and of course good food..” recalled Aga. What’s interesting is that often their rehearsals happened at hang out places like bar, apartment or even on the bus. They just talked about it, but then when they actually played it, everything just fell into place. Still with this kind of calm ambience they only needed 4 recording days and 2 months of production, mixing and mastering. Just as how the graphic design on the cover goes, the band now has placed their finger prints on the music industry, not only in Amsterdam but also throughout Europe and every other corner of the globe, all the way to Indonesia.