Jazz Bakery’ “Moveable Feast” Presents: Billy Childs’ Rebirth Band @The Moss Theatre 05.26.17

While pianist/composer Billy Childs is best known for both his gentle and melodic chamber projects as well as producing vocal tributes to the likes of Laura Nyro, he showed that he is also able to flex his muscles when required. His recent album Rebirth is strong in more ways than one, and he delivered material from the album with an equally well bodied team of Dayna Stephens/as-ss, Hans Glawischnig/b and Ari Hoenig/dr.

Pieces such as “Backwards” and “Dance of Shiva” teamed assertive driving rhythms with sharp angles and hairpin turns, as Stephens’ alto soloed over Hoenig’s restless current that would have drowned a lesser man. On soprano sax, Stephens was dreamy and wistful over the rustling “Aaron’s Song,” joyfully gliding over the rhythmic moguls. Childs’ piano solo was elegiac and pastoral, yet the ensemble passages and solos seemed perfectly seamed together, like a Raphael tapestry.

Child’s fragile intro to “Peace” eventually included Glawischnig’s contribution, creating a sound as delicate as the subject matter itself. The leader then recited the poetic lyrics to “Windmills Of Your Mind” before allowing Stephens’ alto sax to brood the melody over the restless and shifting sands of the rhythm section.

Closing out the evening was vocal contributions by the charming Sara Gazarek, who was gentle, pleading and sincere on her heart on sleeve “Stay” while delivering upbeat and optimistic wordless vocals to the pulsating gallop of the encouraging “Rebirth.” The mix of Gazarek’s voice with Stephens’ soprano sax created and ecstatic climax to a highly enthusiastic evening, one reflective of a rebirth of spirits as the album title suggests.

Upcoming shows sponsored by the Jazz Bakery include Gordon Goodwin June 9, Ambrose Akinmusire June 16 and Buster Williams June 24


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