What makes the Royal Garden Trio so delightful is their own restrained eloquence. The world is full of enthusiastic Hot Club spinoffs – very capable musicians, inspired by Django and Stephane. But often the result is “note for note,” which is amazing technically but less so aesthetically, or an overabundance . . . many notes, many choruses, fast tempos, dalling string virtuosity. One part of the brain admires; the other portion asks (in Lester Young’s words) to be told a story.
The members of the RGT have beautiful stories to tell. They are virtuosic as well, but they know that too much is not a good thing. So their solos are thoughtful speech, not diatribes; their notes ring and resound in the air. Each player creates compelling melodies, and they work together like a swing version of the Budapest Quartet.