Tim Garland: Libra

Multi reedman Garland, who is still best known to some for his tenures with Bill Bruford and Chick Corea and has become one of the UK’s more prominent jazz musicians presents an ambitious double CD with his trio (The Lighthouse Trio) on every track, but augmented by Paul Bollenbeck on guitar (whose “detuned” slide playing on “Hang Loose” is outstanding and original ) on three tunes, the Sacconi strings on one tune, and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on a suite. Garland composed all of the pieces except for “Blue in Green”, “Nostalgia in Times Square”, and Kenny Wheeler’s “Sly Eyes”. The trio members, pianist Gwilym Simcock and percussionist Asaf Sirkis are well suited to Garland’s ambition, which is to balance improvisation and composition, and the languages of classical and jazz. The results are interesting but the music is not always easy to warm up to, especially if listening to all of the music in one sitting, and the suite is extremely dense. Listeners who do not like to venture away from jazz emphasizing blues and swing motifs can skip this one, but listeners that are open to combinations of contemporary classical music and world music elements (especially Sirkis’ percussion palette and meters) and are seeking to hear something ambitious and well executed should endeavor to hear the results.