Scott Yanow - LA Jazz Scene
This is the recording that many of Billy Childs' followers have been waiting for, for years. When he first emerged on the major league jazz scene, it seemed obvious that Childs is equally skilled as a pianist and an arranger-composer. But while he has written for numerous projects, the focus has generally been on his piano playing. On Autumn In Moving Pictures (available from www.billychilds.com), the music is very much in balance, and consistently innovative.
For the project, Childs utilizes a sextet (with guitarist Larry Koonse, Bob Sheppard on alto, soprano and clarinet, Carol Robbins on harp, bassist Scott Colley, and either Antonio Sanchez or Brian Blade on drums), the Ying String Quartet, and a quartet of winds comprised of flute, oboe/English horn, French horn and bassoon. Childs contributes five intriguing originals including lengthy renditions of “The Path Among The Trees” and “A Man Chasing The Horizon.” The music, while clearly post bop jazz, is mostly beyond description, full of color, sometimes episodic and, while often melodic, is never predictable. All of the musicians make important contributions. In addition, Childs arranged fresh and fascinating versions of Bill Evans' “Waltz for Debby” and “Pavane.”
While one could write a lengthy analysis of the music, or a play-by-play of the proceedings, suffice it to say that this is a major release of music that is essential for any serious jazz library. It is the definitive Billy Childs recording,so far.