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Branco Stoysin



by Ian Mann

June 04, 2009


Full of quiet beauty this is the sound of a master craftsman at work.

This latest release from the London based Yugoslav guitarist Branco Stoysin finds him working with his regular trio of Leslee Booth on distinctive six string contra bass and percussionist Buster Birch.

However the content of the record is significantly different to Stoysin’s earlier albums. Previously the guitarist has offered a blend of traditional and modern Yugoslav folk tunes and group originals. This time the focus is much more on Stoysin’s original material with only one outside composition in the form of A.C. Jobim’s “Triste”. For the moment the traditional material has been abandoned and although elements obviously remain in Stoysin’s playing the result is that this is Stoysin’s most overtly “jazz” album to date.

As before Stoysin concentrates exclusively on his Takamine acoustic guitars and the album is of the customarily high technical standards we have come to expect from Sun Recordings. Stoysin’s playing is as crystalline and beautifully articulated as ever, sympathetically supported by Booth’s liquid bass and Birch’s delightfully detailed percussion.

The liner notes inform us that the tunes came to Stoysin very quickly, sometimes inducing a shout of “where’s the pen… to write it down”. Hence “Where’s The Pen” provides the title for the relaxingly melodic opening track. Here as on the following “Good Morning, London” Stoysin deploys a sound that is sometimes reminiscent of Pat Metheny in his more acoustic moments. Stoysin and Metheny may be very different guitarists in many ways but they both share a common love of beauty and a good melody.

Stoysin demonstrates this melodic sense again on the delicate filigree of the title track, Birch and Booth shadowing him with grace and acumen. The beauty of Stoysin’s clean, immaculate finger picked style is then further revealed in the solo guitar piece “Soul and Bird”.

Jobim’s “Triste” follows, imaginatively arranged by the trio with Birch subtly deploying a colourful array of percussion.

“Behind The Clouds There’s The Sun” is a typically optimistic Stoysin title. His music is warm and relaxing, enjoyable on a superficial level but played with a skill and lightness of touch to delight the more discerning listener.

Booth’s “Soon It Will Be Today” is a feature for solo six string contra bass. The flexibility of the instrument allows almost guitar like chords to be played and in Booth’s hands the instrument becomes lyrical and expressive. At five minutes plus it is perhaps slightly too long bit it is certainly impressive.

“Stoysin’s “Till you Come” offers further evidence of his abilities in an understated display of quiet virtuosity with Booth also soloing effectively.

The closing “Changing Times”, the title a nod perhaps to the current political climate, adds a dash of urgency with it’s Moorish/middle eastern inspired melody and Booth’s purring bass groove. Birch also impresses, as he does throughout the album.

Full of quiet beauty"Inexhaustible” continues the high standards we have come to expect from Branco Stoysin and his colleagues. This is the sound of a master craftsman at work.

You can buy the album from Jazz CDs (
and through Branco’s website at

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