Since his first recordings of the 1980s, Billy Childs has developed into a individual and notable composer. An accomplished symphonic writer, he has also created a career’s worth of jazz originals that speak volumes for themselves.
Recently signing onto Mack Avenue’s roster, this marks his debut with the label. His album Rebirth, finds Childs reaching back to the start of his almost astoundingly varied musical career.
“Tightrope” features a immediate recognition of Child’s innate love of classical music. While Childs devotees will recognize three tunes from his Windham Hill tenure of the 1980s: “Stay,” “Backwards Bop” and “Starry Night.” All are featured with a freshened recasting to reflect his continued journey as an exploratory artist. While his compositions and orchestrations have taken Childs into a realm that transcends jazz venues, still in nature Childs is the total sum of his experiences all rooted in jazz.
The rhythmic expression of “Backwards Bop” and “Dance of Shiva” tap into his jazz pedigree developed by J.J. Johnson and Freddie Hubbard as a young member in their groups for his musical upbringing. Childs expands “When Eric Harland’s drums not only push the ensemble along, but fire back at the players in challenging ways, it’s not hard to imagine the creative tension of the Hubbard and Johnson performances.”
"The Starry Night" sets up with a dreamy piano foray, while Steve Wilson’s soprano sax blasts off into the stratosphere like an exploding star of sound. His solo is divinely keen and Childs and Wilson set the tone for a profound journey, as exhibited in "The Windmills Of Your Mind" an intense composition filled with deep colors and textures While Horace Silver’s “Peace” settles the listener into a duo take of piano and saxophone, for a serene moment.
What is so unique about Rebirth is it allows the listener to see the full picture of Childs abilities, whether attracted by his composing, his arranging or his sheer command on piano, the listener is treated to a Rebirth. A long look at a continued journey, and one that is taking a turn towards all of his talents in one release. Truly his tour de force in his immense discography.