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Darin Layne Trio: The Fisherman

It only takes the first few notes of Darin Layne’s debut trio record to make it obvious that the Austin, Texas-based guitarist is a zealous student at the Bill Frisell academy for jazz guitar. And while Layne possesses the warm, forgiving tone of his influences, The Fisherman indicates he may have skipped a few classes on creativity. “Spinning” is the record’s dreamy opener that boasts a nice bass solo by Chris Maresh and a floating-down-a-river vibe. While the feeling is nice, it gets a little tiresome as each track drifts in a similar aimless direction. “Chayenne” is a pleasant melody that never comes to fruition and it’s not until the ninth track, “K.B.,” that the record’s pace picks up away from the atmospheric noodle and toward a more focused plateau. “Whippet” grabs more attention than any other cut on the record, and it’s here that Layne’s playing finally stands out; his runs are aggressive and his chops are ample when finally showcased. “Break Me” allows drummer J.J. Johnson to wake up and lash out under some great rock wailing by Layne, but it’s too little, too late. While The Fisherman has a comfortable, unobtrusive feel- and Layne has got the chops and tone down pat, where he’s lacking is imagination.

Originally Published