The latter day jazz community, by and large, has embraced songwriting icons from the other side of the fence. Numerous artists associated with jazz have visited in on Bob Dylan's iconic work, explored the dark soul of Tom Waits, reshaped the poetic work(s) of Leonard Cohen, and/or tapped into the Joni Mitchell well. But what of Laura Nyro? The woman behind such under-appreciated classics as Stoned Soul Picnic," And When I Die," Eli's Comin,'" and Wedding Bell Blues" has largely been ignored in jazz circles, but that all seems to be changing. Vocalist Mark Winkler got the ball rolling by ...read more
[ Editor's Note: The following interview is reprinted from George Colligan's blog, Jazztruth]Billy Childs is simply one of the baddest musicians on the planet. He's a brilliant jazz pianist, having received much acclaim as a sideman with legends as well as from being a bandleader. His Windham Hill recordings--Take For Example, This....., His April Touch and Portrait Of A Player--were a big influence on my musical tendencies.Childs has been busy for the past two decades as a composer, having been commissioned by major symphony orchestras as well as jazz stars. He has received three Grammy Awards ...read more
There is a somewhat-still-virgin musical territory that rests its innocent heart where classical music ends and jazz commences. Many have beautifully tiptoed on its smooth surface before, mixing, experimenting, creating and even challenging its balance with both improvised and organized notes. Music is in constant evolution, and jazz has always, in one way or another, embraced those who take each step a little further ahead every time. Taking risks makes the magic worthwhile, and the experience always promises to be grand. Composer/pianist Billy Childs' creative magnitude seems to be that of a brilliant, powerful star suspended in the night sky ...read more
Billy Childs Jazz Chamber EnsembleDouglas Beach HouseHalf Moon Bay, CAMay 2, 2010 The packed Douglas Beach House was a testament to the Billy Childs Jazz Chamber Ensemble's reputation, and moreover the performance confirmed that he and the band were well within the groove despite the group's not playing together for the preceding eight months. Childs brought with him what proprietor Pete Douglas called a band with a scary depth of talent. This afternoon on May 2 Billy Childs smiled with confidence as he sat before the Steinway Grand, checked out Marvin Smith over on ...read more
Billy Childs' new recording Lyric: Jazz-Chamber Music Vol. 1 may seem a radical new direction from his previously recorded output as a jazz pianist/leader. But, somewhat under the public's marketing radar, for the last six years or so Childs has been spending much of his energy on larger scale composition, arranging, and orchestrations. While still a great pianist, his writing and conception of style/genre is possibly in the forefront of his modus operandi, and has seemingly come to a head with this most recent CD.
Over the last five years Childs has been nominated for his fourth Grammy; ...read more
Since its birth, the world of jazz has been at odds with the realm of classical music. Owing to the presupposition that these two musical worlds are possessed of an incongruent aesthetic, a fusion between them may seem impossible. However, Lyric shows that music is music. With the first installment of his new Jazz-Chamber Music series, pianist Billy Childs fuses elements of jazz and classical music into a convincing, seamless whole.
The merging of jazz and classical music presents an interesting choice to the artist: will the character of chamber jazz be presented merely in the approach to ...read more
Two questions come to mind when encountering Billy Child's intriguing, long-overdue new release. First, what exactly is jazz-chamber music"? Is the chamber music" part simply a function of adding classical instrumentation (strings, harp) or a reference to occasional resemblances to Bach and Satie and the French impressionists--or is it just a new banner flying over what used to be called the third stream"?
Then, after listening to Lyric once or twice, a second question emerges: Why should we care what it's called? The music is lovely and lush, variously urgent and tranquil, and always elegantly scored; Childs' piano playing is ...read more