Tim Garland has found his musical happy place as his wheelhouse becomes one and adds true legitimacy to the often over used term, virtuoso!
Brent Black / www.criticaljazz.com
A forward yet critical harmonic thinker finds Garland moving between more deconstructed yet lyrically driven compositions for his small ensemble Lighthouse and something for the larger cerebral screen with heartfelt compositions embracing the chamber jazz motif. Perhaps best known for his critically acclaimed work with Chick Corea, Garland remains his own independent artistic voice which allows his lyrical sense of purpose to rise above some of his more notable contemporaries. Instrumentalist, composer and bandleader find the talents of Tim Garland coming full circle with Songs to the North Sky a stellar if not stealth release that should be given every serious Grammy consideration available. Cameos from Geoff Keezer and John Pattitucci give further credence to the exponential growth that Tim Garland would seem to have taken to new levels of artistic impression. Two years of blood, sweat and tears have led to the culmination of an artistic achievement showcasing that Garland is every bit as artistically gifted as he is technically proficient.
There is a charming organic base, a lyrical intimacy of simple unadorned melodies that are allowed to be the cerebral tour guide for the unsuspecting listener. The first disc is a meticulously constructed quartet while the second discs opts for a slightly more cinematic approach, a spatial grandeur of colors you can hear. This is perhaps the finest mix of improvisation and contemporary classical that while wildly accessible, never pushes the listener into the harmonic abysses. The sound is pure, raw yet focused. Time constraints prohibit acknowledging the entire cast of musical co-conspirators other that to say this may be one of the largest and most successful collectives to date going back to Gil Evans and Oliver Nelson.
The emotive Songs To The North Sky will be spoke highly of for years to come. Flawless.
Track Listing: CD 1, Lighthouse: Uplift!; Little Sunshine: A Brother’s Gift; Yes to This; The Perth Flight; Farewell to Ed; Lammas Days; She’s Out of My Life. CD 2, Songs to the North Sky: The Road into Night; Dawnbreakers; Interlude 1; Tyne Song; Storm Over Kielder; Interlude 2; Little Bay Blue; Shapes Over Northumberland; Interlude 3; Lullaby of the Road; Sage and Time; Interlude 4; A Journeyman’s Horizon; Freedom to Wander; Sage and Time (Remix).
Personnel: CD 1: Tim Garland: tenor and soprano saxophone, bass clarinet, flute; Jason Rebello: piano (2, 5, 7-8); John Turville: piano (3-4, 6); Geoffrey Keezer: piano (1); Asaf Sirkis: drum kit, custom percussion set, hang; Ant Law: electric and steel string guitars (1, 3-4, 6); Kevin Glasgow: electric bass (2, 5, 7). CD 2: Tim Garland: tenor and soprano saxophone; The Royal Northern Sinfonia Strings; Asaf Sirkis: custom percussion kit; John Patitucci: double and electric basses; Neil Percy: tuned and classical percussion; Magdalena Filipczak: solo violin.