Saxophonist Tim Garland is not the kind of musician to make simple music. Sure, he can construct a melody out of relatively simple pieces – take the opener here, Sama’i For Peace, which has a tune based on phrases of four notes, or rather two notes, each repeated once. But what he does with these simple phrases is not short on ambition. With Jason Rebello on piano, Asaf Sirkis on drums and Ant Law on guitar, plus Hossam Ramzy on Egyptian percussion, Garland builds a great and inspiring construction, and each time that melodic theme returns it has acquired a grander stature.
Sirkis has been a regular collaborator with Garland in recent years and the way he surrounds the saxophonist with just the right percussion sounds bears testimony to all that time spent making music together. It’s a real treat to have Rebello back aboard – he took Gwilym Simcock’s place in the last Lighthouse Trio recordings, and he and Garland go back a quarter of a century. And the new boy, Ant Law, fits in a treat too.
Bright New Year reminds me that once Garland led a fine jazz-folk band – it was called Lammas. This tune has a lovely Celtic swirl about it, and again it soars on waves of instrumental virtuosity. Law’s acoustic guitar is particularly effective as a wiry decoration above the piano and percussion after Garland’s soprano has disappeared into the clouds.
The leader’s tenor lays down another deceptively simple – and again catchy – melody on The Eternal Greeting, its heart-on-sleeve warmth set within a muscular tone. Law again provides some crucial new instrumental shades on Colours Of The Night. Rebello’s use of other keyboards and organ, and Garland’s additional keyboards further fill out the rich palette of sounds. There is a distinct jazz-rock fusion vibe going on here which reaches its apotheosis on Prototype.
If Pity The Poor Arms Dealer lyric leans towards the worthy end of weighty, it is well conveyed by guest vocalist Dionne Bennett (best known for her work with Slowly Rolling Camera).
Yet again, Tim Garland has packed in a lot of substantial music on this album – it’ll take years to fully absorb it. You can’t fault the man for giving us listening value for money!
Categories: CD review