Yet another testament to the internationality of jazz, its diversity, and the vibrant place it maintains abroad, particularly in Europe, the David Laborier Trio’s self-titled release presents the work of three Luxumbourg based musicians, David Laborier (guitar), Jean Yves Jung (Hammond B3), and Jean Marc Robin (drums), with guest tenor saxophonist Erwin Vann performing on three of the tracks.
Though Laborier was schooled in the U.S., and has taught as well as toured there, both Jung and Robin received their training, scholarly and on the road, in Europe. All three have become quite adept musicians, fully comfortable within the jazz idiom. Most of the release's material originates in the guitar trios of the '50s and '60s, and while certainly skillfully played, the David Laborier Trio adds little to the established structures and idioms of the hallmark trios of that era.
As composer of the album's songs, Laborier writes straightforward tunes which he uses well as springboards for improvisation. As a player, Laborier possesses the requisite control over his instrument, but his phrasing and use of dynamics feels staid and at times overarticulated. Admittedly, the Hammond is something one either appreciates or not, but Jung’s playing seems to suffer from the instrument's lack of resonance. Jung's careful lines might exhibit greater depth if presented on an acoustic instrument. Robin’s drumming his relatively bop-inspired percussion, and he does it very well. He is always right on the beat, and his brisk, fluid fills are always placed appropriately to support his bandmates' endeavors.
Although all of the compositions on The David Laborier Trio album are straightforward, two pieces deserve particular attention: the rhythmically captivating and well-arranged “Mr. Ant,” on which Robin shines, and the smoothly moody, slow tempo “T.Z. Express,” which more clearly reveals Laborier’s expressive ability.
Overall, a fine debut which shows promise of more to come. It will be interesting to see what direction this group takes in the future, hopefully expanding into more adventurous terrain.
Personnel: David Laborier: Guitar
Jean Yves Jung: Hammond B3
Jean Marc Robin: Drums
Erwin Vann: Tenor Saxophone (1,5,6)