Imagine you’re looking for a LP to get a friend that you’re trying to get into contemporary jazz, nothing too full on or scary, something accessible, rhythmically charming and beautifully played. The Florian Favre Trio’s latest LP On a smiling gust of wind recently released on Traumton Records could be just the ticket. Far from being jazz for dummies, “beauty can also be found in simplicity” says Favre. The work has a spacious, confident touch exuding from both the musicians’ interplay and the cohesive nature of the compositions that makes for a very non-threatening journey. The LP leaves you wanting more, wondering what this fabulous collective energy (Manu Hagmann on double bass and Arthur Alard in drums) is capable doing of next.
This fêted Swiss jazz pianist
31 years young, this fêted Swiss jazz pianist is currently riding on a wave of numerous international prizes, a myriad of projects, two applauded previous albums and three years of high priority jazz promotion from the Pro-Helvetia cultural body. A Fribourg classical music boy turned jazz, schooled in Bern and recently Mastered in Composition & Theory at the Bern University of the Arts. Favre’s diary is filled not only with his own live gigs, but collaborations with rap artists, pop productions, appearances with big bands, writing scores for dance companies and pedagogical projects. What is so sought-after is his rhythmic finesse, rich colourful harmonies and a simple but beautiful sense of musical vitality that draws inspiration from many nuances. Previous reviews of his work describe how his is not a music intended for scholars or scientists by the fact that it is too crystal clear, often based on the expansion of one main theme - remarks that are intended as positives.
A sense of dramaturgy
Favre’s references are varied and clearly palpable. His early classical training comes out especially in his composition style: the development of a motif or theme, the importance of a sense of dramaturgy. His jazz influence is felt in the interaction between his trio, a playful communication which is at once tight, spontaneous and direct. Interwoven between these two main pillars are flashes of pop, rock, groove and hip-hop influences that go a long way in bringing out the colourful personality of this latest LP. It’s an uncluttered work, minimally and acoustically produced to allow maximum breathing space among the notes that are played and above all those that are not played. What is delightful is the sense of movement, humble beginnings, elements of surprise in the rise and fall, dramatic endings. Tracks such as Frunky and Strange picture truly give a feeling of flight, buoyancy and being carried along an uplifting torrent of positive energy - sometimes bluesy, sometimes lyrical, always elegant.
As an unofficial ambassador of the contemporary sound of Swiss jazz, Favre is a safe, friendly choice, easy on the eye as on the ear, undeniably full of playful musical exploration and charming clarity. The launch party of the new Florian Favre Trio CD will take place in Geneva, Sunday 5th November, at Athenee 4 at 5pm (opening act Viva Sanchez on Goldberg Variations and Raymond Queneau texts).
Florian Favre Trio, On A Smiling Gust of Wind, Traumton Records.