323

Tim Garland: Libra

Frederick Bernas By

Sign in to view read count
The adventurous two-disc Libra features saxophonist Tim Garland heavily entrenched in trio territory. He is joined by rising star Gwilym Simcock on piano and versatile percussionist Asaf Sirkis, with guest appearances from zany guitarist Paul Bollenback and London's Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.

Expansive, well-structured pieces are the record's mainstay, with a tasteful sprinkling of standards. Known for sideman work with names including Chick Corea, Joe Locke, Bill Bruford, and many of the UK's finest, Garland here speaks an advanced compositional language to match his fiery presence on saxophones and bass clarinet. As in any group of this nature, the Lighthouse Trio emphasizes personal interaction and mutual exposition, and the intense, flourishing nature of these musical relationships is arguably as important a feature as Garland's writing.

"Frontier," a four-part suite dedicated to Gunther Schuller, incorporates classical influences: the first segment, "SunGod," is a grandiose orchestral introduction sans jazz. Clear lunar connections can be made to Holst's masterpiece, The Planets (1918). Attention shifts in seamless waves between trio and orchestra, with the full ensemble often ebbing and flowing behind solos or suddenly jumping in to punctuate breaks and gaps. The piece runs organically without sounding mechanical, before abruptly ending in the blink of an eye. There's almost not enough time for the mind to process, but here lies the simple beauty of recorded music.

The second CD opens with a live version of "Blue In Green," pleasantly presented without a steady pulse. A couple of steamy Latin numbers evoke the spirit of Corea, particularly "Bajo Del Sol," with its tour de force piano solo climaxing in loud, crashing sheets of rippling chordal deviance. Kenny Wheeler's "Sly Eyes" is playful and adventurous: Simcock's stompy vamp underpins a deft, loping sax melody before another sudden ending via Sirkis' agile brushwork. All three are burning on the penultimate track, "Break In The Weather," as Garland skips and darts and a fierce battle of rhythmic ideas takes place between piano and drums.

Libra is a striking achievement by three leading talents on the contemporary British scene, successfully balancing the intricacies of large ensemble writing with a deep sense of openness and reciprocal understanding.


Track Listing: CD1 (Sun): The Eyes Of Ages; Hang Loose; Arabesque For Three; Frontier: SunGod, MoonGod, On SunGod, Libra; Old Man Winter. CD2 (Moon): Blue In Green; Bajo Del Sol; Darkhouse; Sly Eyes; Black Elk; Break In The Weather; Nostalgia In Times Square.

Personnel: Tim Garland: tenor and soprano saxophones, bass clarinet, bass flute; Gwilym Simcock: piano; Asaf Sirkis: percussion set, hang drum, udu, frame drums; Paul Bollenback: guitar (CD1#2, 5, CD2#7 ); Royal Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Tim Garland (CD1#4); Sacconi Strings (CD2#3).

Title: Libra | Year Released: 2009 | Record Label: Global Mix


Tags

comments powered by Disqus

More Articles

Read Kurrent CD/LP/Track Review Kurrent
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Duets CD/LP/Track Review Duets
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 17, 2017
Read Rev CD/LP/Track Review Rev
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1 CD/LP/Track Review The Frequency Modulators Orchestra, Vol. 1
by Jim Olin
Published: October 17, 2017
Read The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren CD/LP/Track Review The Adventures of Zodd Zundgren
by Karl Ackermann
Published: October 16, 2017
Read Any Other Way CD/LP/Track Review Any Other Way
by Jakob Baekgaard
Published: October 16, 2017
Read "Shifting Borders" CD/LP/Track Review Shifting Borders
by Geannine Reid
Published: July 5, 2017
Read "The Roc" CD/LP/Track Review The Roc
by Geno Thackara
Published: May 6, 2017
Read "I Can See Clearly Now" CD/LP/Track Review I Can See Clearly Now
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: August 7, 2017
Read "Proverbe" CD/LP/Track Review Proverbe
by Karl Ackermann
Published: June 15, 2017
Read "Beginnings" CD/LP/Track Review Beginnings
by David A. Orthmann
Published: September 25, 2017
Read "Rags And Roots" CD/LP/Track Review Rags And Roots
by James Nadal
Published: April 25, 2017

Join the staff. Writers Wanted!

Develop a column, write album reviews, cover live shows, or conduct interviews.