Tim Garland – Songs to the North Sky (Edition Records)   


"This imaginative and consummately crafted double set from Tim Garland splits between new work for his small band Lighthouse, and the chamber-orchestra piece of the title. Garland has been a fine original composer and much sought after instrumentalist (most notably for Chick Corea) since the 1980s, but this set really does feel like the tying-up of many threads in his life that have sometimes felt tantalisingly separated. Every necessary skill for such a big venture – from songwriting, to bandleading, to improvising, or composing a classical-orchestra score now seem to be in harmony with him. The tenor-sax anthem Uplift! (over Geoff Keezer’s racing piano ostinato) snaps the set into action, and the Lighthouse tracks consistently show how naturally Garland can mix Jan Garbarek-like atmospherics and soul-sax muscle. He subtly mingles Ant Law’s guitar, Asaf Sirkis’s percussion, John Patitucci’s bass virtuosity, or the voicelike qualities of a soprano sax on the ballad She’s Out of My Life. The orchestral scores reflect Tippett, Bartók and Vaughan Williams, evoking dark skies with jagged strings flashing across them like shooting stars, the thrash of stormy seas. It all took two years, but it feels like the culmination of a life’s work."

 The Guardian.***** (5 stars)

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