In 1999, British saxophonist Tim Garland replaced Bob Sheppard in Chick Corea's band Origin. Here he makes his Stretch Records debut, in the company of trumpeter Gerard Presencer, pianist Geoff Keezer, bassist and Origin bandmate Avishai Cohen, drummer Jorge Rossy, and vibraphonist Joe Locke. The first nine tracks comprise a suite commissioned from Garland by the London Jazz Festival, with each movement dedicated to an influential figure in Garland's life. Throughout the suite, Garland demonstrates his skill at incorporating international folk elements into his adventurous jazz writing. Highlights include "Gentle Nemesis," a sweeping, beautiful song to civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks; "Pablo," for Pablo Neruda, exotically flavored by Karen Street on accordion; and "Traveller, Your Gootprints Are the Only Path," a rubato bass clarinet ode to Scottish musician and poet Don Paterson, with whom Garland led the Celtic-influenced band Lammas for many years.
Following the suite's conclusion, Garland plays a solid, muscular tenor on "Good Morning Heartache," with Chick Corea guesting on piano. (Corea also appears on "Gentle Nemesis.") Then "Trinity" closes the program with an unconventional twist: a spritely trio of the leader's soprano, Keezer's piano, and Locke's five-octave marimba.
Garland's writing is focused, mature, and expressive, and his solos on tenor and soprano are fleet and fat-toned. The influence of Corea is certainly apparent, however. Much of this fine music would be quite at home on an Origin album.