Florian Favre Trio ‘On A Smiling Gust Of Wind’ (Traumton) 4/5

Born in Fribourg, Switzerland, pianist Florian Favre completed his Masters degree in Composition & Theory with Django Bates and Dieter Amman at the High School of Arts in Bern (HKB). After a brief experience in the classical world of piano, he began to study jazz at the Conservatory of Fribourg with Richard Pizzorno. He entered the Swiss Jazz School the same year and in 2010 was selected to be part of the DKSJ All Star project with Pierre Audétat. That same year he received his Bachelor of Arts and the Friedelwald grant.

As a leader, Favre takes an active part in several projects, such as the Florian Favre trio, or his solo project. Recently he has also started two news projects, “Rêves de gosses” (rap and jazz) and “Fragments d’identités”. “On a smiling gust of wind” is a piano, bass, drums trio album, with bassist Manu Hagmann and drummer Arthur Alard joining composer/pianist Favre.

Favre’s style is wonderfully expressionistic. He plays with an assured touch, sometimes calm and thoughtful, sometimes lyrical and dynamic. His compositions work on different levels, being very listenable in an immediate way, yet also taking the listener deeper on repeated listening. Not unlike Esbjorn Svensson in the way that he skilfully lays down a foundation around a simple melody then takes a tune from jazz to pop and back to jazz again, many times over.

Eight original compositions feature on this recording. Highlights include “She just is”, a wonderful example of how lyrically beautiful Favre’s music can be. This is one of those tunes that takes me to a different time and place. The music transports this listener to a realm unto itself, where I can lose myself in the notes and chords, not having to or needing to think about anything else. “Flagile” is a deeper, achingly darker tune, yet still has light shining through to its core. I love the way “Nanomelie” gradually builds. From its sketchy, delicate beginnings we are soon drawn into a more colourful picture, with Favre’s classical influences never too far from the centre of things.

“On a smiling gust of wind” is a very enjoyable album. Those of you into your piano led jazz trios need to check this out. Florian Favre may not yet be quite the finished article in terms of stand-out jazz performers, but on this evidence there will be much more to come. His music has that flare and intelligence combined with melody and lyricism that many composers better known than him would quietly admire.

Mike Gates