498

Tim Garland: If the Sea Replied

John Kelman By

Sign in to view read count
Tim Garland: If the Sea Replied

He's still in his early forties, so it may seem premature for British woodwind multi-instrumentalist Tim Garland to create a consolidating work that summarizes his musical experiences to date. But Garland's involvement in projects like the contemporary post bop of Chick Corea's Origin and Bill Bruford's Earthworks, the chamber jazz of his own Storms/Nocturnes trio, and the Celtic-meets-contemporary jazz of the now-defunct Lammas suggests he's already covered significant territory.



Even that's only part of the story. Garland has been immersed in classical studies, in addition to citing stylistic genre-busters Oregon and Paul Motian Trio as seminal influences. If the Sea Replied is an ambitious, sprawling suite that uses lighthouses and the sea's grace and power to bring his multifarious concerns into remarkable focus.



Garland's 'no boundaries' combination of small group jazz, chamber music, ambient impressionism, and folk-informed improvisation could only work with like-minded players, and in pianist Gwilym Simcock he's found the perfect complement. The twenty-something Simcock, increasingly in demand on the UK scene, has only recently come to jazz from a formal classical background. In his John Taylor-like combination of lithe lyricism and denser harmonies, his ability to combine improvisational élan with formal structures more akin to classical composition allow him to mesh seamlessly with Garland's conception.



Fleshing out the core trio is percussionist Asaf Sirkis, who's equally comfortable on hand percussion and conventional drums. The sprightly "'Tide Races," with its metrically shifting theme and juxtaposition of four-bar solos and two-beat connecting phrases, suggests how Oregon might sound were Chick Corea on piano. The Oregon connection is further illustrated by "St. Mary's Light,"' where Lammas alumnus Don Patterson's acoustic guitar, Garland's soprano saxophone, and Sirkis' hand drums examine similar turf.



But despite unassailable roots, Garland is no mere imitator. His writing style becomes even more vividly personal on tracks like "The Machine," blending the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra's strings, samples of an interview with Britain's last lighthouse keeper, and Garland's robust bass clarinet in a true case of reverse engineering. Recording a series of improvisations in an actual lighthouse—combining close and distance miking to capture the ambience of the structure—Garland then composed orchestration around these solos. Holst-like moments of drama contrast with more delicate and abstract impressionism as Garland lends credence to the concept that improvisations are truly spontaneous compositions.



Those who might accuse If the Sea Replied of lacking substantive jazz credibility need only look to the powerful "Storm Warning." Here a maelstrom of sound ranges from introductory wild free play and a brief Coltrane-inspired duet between Garland and Sirkus to a more atmospheric coda combining spoken word, strings, and electronic sound samples.



Still, If the Sea Replied won't fit a conventional jazz definition, because it combines complex form and orchestral textures, avoiding more traditional devices. But its underlying reliance on interpretive improvisation evinces its ever-evolving nature. Garland's refusal to surround music with predefined borders results in a uniquely captivating and expansive experience that deviates from closed-minded preconception and defies easy categorization.


Track Listing: Tide Races; The Machine; St Marys Light; Spring Tide; Young In The Fifties; Six or Seven Lights; Springtide (duet); If The Sea Replied; Storm Warning; Tide Races (reprise); The Distance; Going Ashore; Dark House; Epilogue - From The Land.

Personnel: Tim Garland: soprano, tenor, bass clarinet; Gwilym Simcock: piano, french horn; Asaf Sirkis: udu, percussion, drums; Don Paterson: acoustic guitar; Malcolm Creese: double bass; Strings of the Northern Sinfonia Orchestra.

Year Released: 2005 | Record Label: Sirocco Music Limited | Style: Modern Jazz


Shop

More Articles

Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Final Concert CD/LP/Track Review The Final Concert
by John Sharpe
Published: February 19, 2017
Read Desire & Freedom CD/LP/Track Review Desire & Freedom
by Glenn Astarita
Published: February 19, 2017
Read On Hollywood Boulevard CD/LP/Track Review On Hollywood Boulevard
by Budd Kopman
Published: February 19, 2017
Read The Motorman's Son CD/LP/Track Review The Motorman's Son
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 18, 2017
Read "Stick Men + David Cross: Midori" CD/LP/Track Review Stick Men + David Cross: Midori
by Geno Thackara
Published: March 28, 2016
Read "O Horizonte" CD/LP/Track Review O Horizonte
by Nenad Georgievski
Published: December 8, 2016
Read "Early Americans" CD/LP/Track Review Early Americans
by Ian Patterson
Published: September 22, 2016
Read "Chronicles" CD/LP/Track Review Chronicles
by Mark Sullivan
Published: September 29, 2016
Read "Intermission" CD/LP/Track Review Intermission
by Dave Wayne
Published: June 24, 2016
Read "Song of the Free Will" CD/LP/Track Review Song of the Free Will
by Dave Wayne
Published: November 16, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!