Billy Childs Ensemble

Autumn: In Moving Pictures

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Billy Childs has primarily worked in a piano trio setting or led a small jazz group, aside from one earlier date (Lyric) that utilized a string quartet and jazz ensemble. But this limited-edition Artistshare CD is even more ambitious, utilizing many of the same musicians as his earlier ensemble recording (guitarist Larry Koonse, multi-reed player Bob Sheppard, harpist Carol Robbins, bassist Scott Colley, and drummer Brian Blade), adding drummer Antonio Sanchez as well, plus the Ying String Quartet and several classical wind instrumentalists. Bill Evans' "Waltz for Debby" has long been a favorite of jazz musicians, but Childs' inventive scoring mixes a solo harp introduction, an interlude that blends impressionism and modern jazz, plus superb solos by Childs and Koonse, taking it far from the expected approaches. Childs' sensitive treatment of Gabriel Fauré's Pavane is masterful, blending his lyrical piano with his intricate writing for strings and winds. The leader's originals also merit praise. His impressionist opener, "The Path Among the Trees," is a colorful work true to its title, with lush scoring of the string quartet. The richly textured "A Man Chasing the Horizon" suggests a soundtrack to an unseen suspense film. Another gem is "Raindrop Patterns," which suggests the beginning of a crisp fall day. Autumn: In Moving Pictures is easily one of Billy Childs' best recordings.

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