All music guide (en)

Phil Abraham Trio - CD Fredaines

A native of Belgium, where he continues to perform, this is Phil Abraham's third album and his second for the Belgium label Lyrae. Abraham's vocal and playing style can best described as "Chet Baker with trombone" - he sings in the same soft, laidback manner as Baker and plays a trombone in the same reticent style that characterized Baker's trumpet, with a smidgeon of Frank Rosolino added. The major difference in singing styles is that Abraham scats much more than Baker did. Trombone trios are not so common on today's jazz scene and, after listening to this album, one wonders why. Abraham's playing is attractive because he does not try to overwhelm his listeners with virtuosi pyrotechnics. Instead, there is a relaxed, even flow to his performances, making the music a delight to hear. Also, there is the rather clever way that Abraham's voice is over-dubbed as it glides along with his trombone playing, particularly on "walkin' Tip-Toe" and Sonny Rollins' classic bop tune "St. Thomas." On his composition "Jeanne et Louise" Abraham shows off another musical skill not that common on the contemporary jazz scene : whistling à la his fellow countryman Toots Thielemans. Each trio member's musicianship plays a major role in the success of this album. Frédéric Favarel's guitar recalls the style of the great Django Reinhardt. He has extended solos on several of the cuts, most notably on "St. Thomas" and "Both Worlds." Hein Van de Geyn, with his rhythmic bass, provides the proper framework for the session. One of the album highlights is the unique arrangement of "Here's That Rainy Day" where Abraham's trombone glides in and out of the melody line, followed by a sterling duet by Favarel and Hein Van de Geyn. Fredaines is an exceptional album of music featuring a playlist of 11 standards and original with incomparable arrangements presented by very talented musicians. It is a worthy addition to any collection.