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Billy Childs

illy Childs has emerged as one of the foremost American composers of his era, perhaps the most distinctly American composer since Aaron Copland – for like Copland, he has successfully married the musical products of his heritage with the Western neoclassical traditions of the twentieth century in a powerful symbiosis of style, range, and dynamism.

A native of Los Angeles, Childs grew up immersed in jazz, classical, and popular music influences. A prodigious talent at the piano earned him public performances by age six, and at sixteen he was admitted to the USC Community School of the Performing Arts, going on to earn a Bachelor of Music degree in Composition under the tutelage of Robert Linn and Morten Lauridsen.

By the time of his graduation from USC, Childs was already an in-demand performer in the L.A. jazz scene. Soon thereafter he was discovered by trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, with whom he embarked on a successful performing and recording tour. He recorded and performed with a number of other influential jazz musicians including J.J. Johnson, Joe Henderson, and Wynton Marsalis before landing a record deal with Windham Hill Records in 1988, when he released Take For Example, This…, the first of four critically acclaimed albums for the label. The albums Twilight Is Upon Us (1989), His April Touch (1991), and Portrait Of A Player (1992) followed, each expansive contributions of depth and virtuosity. Since then Childs has written and produced I’ve Known Rivers (1995) on Stretch/GRP, The Child Within (1996) on Shanachie, and two volumes of “jazz/chamber music” (an amalgam of jazz and classical music) – Lyric, Vol. 1 (2006) and Autumn: In Moving Pictures, Vol. 2 (2010); the recordings earned him two GRAMMY awards and five nominations.

Simultaneously with his recording career, Childs has occupied a parallel niche as an in-demand composer. His orchestral and chamber commission credits include Esa-Pekka Salonen and the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra under the baton of Leonard Slatkin, The Los Angeles Master Chorale, The Kronos Quartet, The Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra, The American Brass Quintet, The Ying Quartet, and The Dorian Wind Quintet.

Thus far in his career, Childs has garnered thirteen GRAMMY nominations and five awards: two for Best Instrumental Composition (Into the Light from Lyric and The Path Among The Trees from Autumn: In Moving Pictures) and two for Best Arrangement Accompanying a Vocalist (New York Tendaberry from Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro and What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life? from To Love Again). In 2006, Childs was awarded a Chamber Music America Composer’s Grant, and in 2009 was the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship. He received the Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2013, the Music Award from The American Academy of Arts and Letters in 2015, and most recently, for his album Rebirth, was honored with his fifth GRAMMY Award – for Best Jazz Instrumental Album.

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Album Review

Freddie Hubbard: One Of A Kind

Read "One Of A Kind" reviewed by Richard J Salvucci


It is something of a challenge to review Freddie Hubbard's work from the early 1980s. He had changed direction in the early 1970s with Red Clay (CTI, 1970) moving toward soul-jazz and jazz-rock, although anyone listening to Hubbard's playing would hear his standard vocabulary of licks. Some listeners approved; some listeners did not; and some simply labelled him a sell-out. This certainly was not the Hubbard of Blue Note, and while he returned to playing straight ahead in the mid-1980s ...

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Live Review

Billy Childs at Dazzle

Read "Billy Childs at Dazzle" reviewed by Geoff Anderson


Billy Childs Dazzle jny:Denver, Colorado May 6, 2023 Sometimes when a musician has so many activities and accolades in different areas, it's easy to overlook the basic thing, like: the guy can really play! Pianist Billy Childs drove that point home with a sledgehammer Saturday night at Dazzle when he brought his quartet to Denver for a two-set, one-night stand. Stripped down to the essentials of a rhythm section and trumpet player, Childs ...

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Live Review

Billy Childs Quartet at Jazz Alley

Read "Billy Childs Quartet at Jazz Alley" reviewed by Paul Rauch


Billy Childs Quartet Jazz Alley Seattle WA May 2, 2023 The crowd was not large upon arriving at Seattle's landmark club, Jazz Alley. At first, one would surmise that this was surprising, considering the career of pianist/composer Billy Childs. After all, he has been the recipient of five Grammy awards, from thirteen nominations. He has been awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2009 and a Doris Duke Performing Artist Award in 2013. As an active composer/arranger, ...

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Album Review

Billy Childs: The Winds of Change

Read "The Winds of Change" reviewed by Neil Duggan


Billy Childs, one of the most critically acclaimed pianists in modern jazz, is in high demand as a modern classical composer. He has played and composed music ranging from orchestral to chamber works to contemporary small ensemble jazz. This has brought him five Grammy awards to date. Starting as a pianist in his native Los Angeles, he then spent six years with Freddie Hubbard's band before becoming a leader in his own right. He has performed with a ...

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Album Review

Daniel Rotem: Wise One: Celebrating The Music of John Coltrane

Read "Wise One: Celebrating The Music of John Coltrane" reviewed by Jim Worsley


There was, and still is, a stunningly intricate mosaic to John Coltrane's music. His visionary art form is a gift to the world that keeps on giving. Coltrane's impressions created a legacy of beautifully conceptualized music to be absorbed and reimagined for generations to come. The music is timeless, thanks in large part, obviously, to the man they called Trane. But thanks as well to the talented musicians who have breathed in all that is Coltrane and absorbed the passion ...

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Interview

Billy Childs: L.A. Contentment

Read "Billy Childs: L.A. Contentment" reviewed by R.J. DeLuke


Billy Childs says taking formal piano lessons as a young child “didn't register" at the time. He didn't recoil from the instrument by any means, but it wasn't yet exciting. But he had a neighbor who also played. Childs looked up to him. It was that neighbor who showed him stuff--taught him to play “ Cantaloupe Island" and other things. “I consider those my first real piano lessons, actually," says Childs from his jny: Los Angeles home. Good ...

Album Review

Alicia Olatuja: Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women

Read "Intuition: Songs From The Minds Of Women" reviewed by Angelo Leonardi


È un tributo alla creatività delle donne in generale e delle cantautrici in particolare, questo di Alicia Olatuja, che interpreta composizioni di Tracy Chapman, Joni Mitchell, Violeta Parra, Sade Adu, Kate Bush e altre. Alicia ne aggiunge di proprie e partecipa come arrangiatrice in un progetto fortemente sentito e condiviso col produttore Kamau Kenyatta, noto per il suo ruolo nel successo di Gregory Porter, e con Ulysses Owens Jr. Alicia Olatuja è una versatile mezzosoprano, maturata ...

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Performance / Tour

World-renowned Smoke Jazz Club Kick-starts The Fall Season With Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, Pianists Billy Childs And George Cables, And Album Release By Eddie Henderson, And More

World-renowned Smoke Jazz Club Kick-starts The Fall Season With Vocalist Jazzmeia Horn, Pianists Billy Childs And George Cables, And Album Release By Eddie Henderson, And More

Source: AMT Public Relations

Rated the #1 Jazz Club in New York City (Secret NYC), Smoke Jazz Club begins a new season with some heavy hitters starting with a Labor Day weekend run with the Peter Bernstein Quartet featuring Al Foster (Aug 31-Sep 3). Hailed as “2023 Record Label of the Year (Jazz Journalists Association), Smoke Sessions Records releases Eddie Henderson’s Witness to History album complemented by a four-night concert series at the club (Sep 7-10). Celebrating their Smoke Jazz Club debuts are renowned ...

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Performance / Tour

Temple University’s Boyer College Of Music And Dance Presents A One-Night Only Classical-Jazz Concert April 16 At Jazz At Lincoln Center With Orchestral Premieres By Billy Childs And Bill Cunliffe

Temple University’s Boyer College Of Music And Dance Presents A One-Night Only Classical-Jazz Concert April 16 At Jazz At Lincoln Center With Orchestral Premieres  By Billy Childs And Bill Cunliffe

Source: AMT Public Relations

Featuring Performances by 100+ Student and Faculty Artists including Temple University’s Symphony Orchestra, Studio Orchestra, and Faculty Jazz Sextet: Terell Stafford, Dick Oatts, Bruce Barth, Tim Warfield, Mike Boone, and Justin Faulkner. In Celebration of TU’s Faculty Jazz Sextet’s Album Release Fly With the Wind The award-winning Temple University Jazz Band (TUJB) today announced its return to Jazz at Lincoln Center in a one-night only concert April 16th at 8:00 p.m. Hailed as one of today’s leading jazz student ensembles, ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz this week: Billy Childs' tribute to Laura Nyro; Funky Butt Brass Band; and more

Jazz this week: Billy Childs' tribute to Laura Nyro; Funky Butt Brass Band; and more

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week in St. Louis jazz and creative music, the Sheldon Concert Hall resumes their jazz series with pianist Billy Childs' tribute to an under-appreciated singer-songwriter of the 1960s and 70s; two local favorites play two nights each at Jazz at the Bistro; and more. Let's go the highlights... Wednesday, January 27 Pianist Ptah Williams leads a group in the first of two nights at Jazz at the Bistro; singer Erin Bode performs for the monthly concert series at the ...

Performance / Tour

Jazz This Week: Billy Childs Quartet, Tatsuya Nakatani, Mephista, Arturo Sandoval, and More

Jazz This Week: Billy Childs Quartet, Tatsuya Nakatani, Mephista, Arturo Sandoval, and More

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

It's another busy week for jazz and creative music in St. Louis, with a couple of notable concerts of adventurous improvised music, plus an all-star quartet of modern mainstream players, a top Latin-jazz trumpeter, and more. Let's go to the highlights... Tonight, pianist Billy Childs' quartet begins a four-night engagement, continuing through Saturday, at Jazz at the Bistro. Though Childs may be the nominal leader, it's something of an all-star band, with drummer Brian Blade, alto saxophonist Steve Wilson and ...

Video / DVD

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Few Minutes with Billy Childs

STLJN Saturday Video Showcase: A Few Minutes with Billy Childs

Source: St. Louis Jazz Notes by Dean Minderman

This week, let's spend a few minutes with some videos of pianist Billy Childs, who will be in St. Louis next week to play Wednesday, October 3 through Saturday, October 6 at Jazz at the Bistro. Although the gig is billed as the Billy Childs Quartet, the group - which includes alto saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Scott Colley and drummer Brian Blade - is positioned as more of a cooperative effort than a ...

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Performance / Tour

Billy Childs' Jazz Chamber Ensemble Saturday night November 20 the Vitello's Jazz & Supper Club

Billy Childs' Jazz Chamber Ensemble Saturday night November 20 the Vitello's Jazz & Supper Club

Source: All About Jazz

Grammy-winning pianist and composer Billy Childs' Jazz Chamber Ensemble Saturday night November 20, 2010 at Vitellos Jazz & Supper Club. Childs' band includes Bob Sheppard on woodwinds, Carol Robbins on harp, Larry Koonse on guitar, Hamilton Price on bass, and Marvin “Smitty" Smith on drums, backed by The Sonus String Quartet. The musicians are: Billy Childs —piano Bob Sheppard —sax/flute Larry Koonse —guitar Carol Robbins —Harp Hamilton Price—bass Marvin “Smitty" ...

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Recording

Billy Childs Blends Jazz And Classical On "Autumn: In Moving Pictures"

Billy Childs Blends Jazz And Classical On "Autumn: In Moving Pictures"

Source: Clay Wilson

The second ArtistShare release from Billy Childs, “Autumn: In Moving Pictures" takes the listener on a unique musical journey through the New England Autumn. Using the twists and turns of I-95, the sounds of leaves floating in the wind, and the patterns of raindrops, Childs' paints magnificent auditory portraits which are interpreted by Billy's Chamber Jazz group featuring Bob Sheppard, Carol Robbins, Larry Koonse, Scott Colley, Brian Blade, and Antonio Sanchez. To preview compositions from Billy Childs' “Autumn In Moving ...

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Contest

Enter the "Seven Years of ArtistShare" 7-CD Giveaway!

Enter the "Seven Years of ArtistShare" 7-CD Giveaway!

Source: All About Jazz

All About Jazz members are invited to enter the “Seven Years of ArtistShare" contest sponsored by ArtistShare. To celebrate the seven year anniversary of ArtistShare's first fan-funded project, five winners will receive a collection of 7 recent ArtistShare releases listed below at the conclusion of the contest on November 14th.Click here to enter the contest (Following Billy Childs at AAJ automatically enters you in the contest.) This unique package includes Autumn: In Moving Pictures from Billy Childs, The Gershwin Songbook ...

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Recording

Billy Childs redefines “Third Stream”

Billy Childs redefines “Third Stream”

Source: Clay Wilson

Billy Childs' second fan-funded ArtistShare recording, “Autumn: In Moving Pictures" provided fans with his unique take on the combination of classical and jazz. “Autumn: In Moving Pictures" features Billy's Chamber Jazz group of Bob Sheppard, Larry Koonse, Carol Robbins, Scott Colley, Antonio Sanchez, and Brian Blade, augmented by the acclaimed Ying String Quartet. With this recording, Billy paints an auditory picture of a drive through New England in the fall, allowing the listener to hear the whirling of leaves and ...

Photos

Concerts

Music

Recordings: As Leader | As Sideperson

The Winds of Change

Mack Avenue Records
2023

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One Of A Kind

Arkadia Records
2023

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Acceptance

Mack Avenue Records
2020

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Intuition: Songs From...

Resilience Music
2018

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Rebirth

Mack Avenue Records
2017

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The End of Innocence

From: The Winds of Change
By Billy Childs

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