Following the 2012 album Live, Swiss pianist Nik Bärtsch decided to allow his band Ronin some peace and quiet to develop further. This growth culminated in their latest studio album Awase. Bärtsch returns to meditative jazz funk, but with a slimmed-down version of Ronin. The title refers to Bärtsch’s passion for martial arts, which he claims share common ground with music-making because both art forms work through movement. The music of Bärtsch’s quartet contains several layers that can be characterized by surprising tempo changes and phrasing. But because the band is now smaller, there is more space for free and flexible playing. This makes the music more accessible yet at the same time retaining great depth. The repetitive patterns and funky rhythms of Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin take you to a deeper place, whether you are depressurizing in a yoga class, or enjoying the atmosphere at Ahoy.