Géraldine Laurent

Time Out Trio

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For her debut recording, modern mainstream jazz alto saxophonist Géraldine Laurent uses a rhythm section with just bass and drums, which keeps her personal playing firmly in focus for the listener, but may also expose drawbacks. As such, those inherent shortcomings seem obvious, but the positives of her sound are also clear. She possesses a strong sense of self and identity, emphasizing elements of dexterity and at times whimsy. At the forefront of her influences admittedly is tenor saxophonist Sonny Rollins, but you would also surmise she's heard her share of Phil Woods and Lee Konitz. Charles Mingus is another icon on her plate, as evidenced by her strong interpretation of the Latin-flavored "Tijuana Gift Shop" and funky, changing-the-changes take on "Fables of Faubus." She tends to play a lot of notes on "Autumn Nocturne," and rarely slows to smell the roses on traditional ballads like the midtempo "Skylark" or "I Fall in Love Too Easily." There's a palpable anxiety during "Skylark," the super-fast Ornette Coleman piece "Rejoicing," and her original "A Quiet," which suggests she's trying too hard to get all of her expressionism out in the moment. Listen to her sped-up and slowed-down take of Wayne Shorter's "Lester Left Town" and you really hear her impatience. Then again, an overtly long intro to "Faubus" would suggest that her need to improvise might be misplaced at times. It's clear that Laurent is making an attempt to deconstruct certain themes she loves and craft them her into own style, but at times it smacks of gimmickry. This is not to say on any level that there's only minimal talent brimming from this player -- you can hear much potential present. Perhaps on her next outing she'll be more relaxed and able to translate this energy, which is likely more attainable in her live performances, into a studio setting.

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