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Tim Garland - Enter the Fire - Jazz Journal International


18 May 1997
Jazz Journal International

Garland is a newish name on the scene, and a prodigiously talented one. When involved in the Celtic-jazz amalgam Lammas he plays keyboards, reeds and flutes (though here he restricts himself to tenor and soprano sax); his range of idiom and cultural awareness - both as player and composer - is similarly wide, encompassing American as much as European influences and styles.
It's important to stress that, because Garland rejects the notion enthusiastically voiced by followers of his Lammas work that 'you can create jazz purely from European sources'. His work here seeks to memorialise the American musicians who have inspired him - notably Bill Evans and Ornette Coleman, though listeners will soon detect an admiration for Coltrane, Henderson and Brecker as well.
The album is built round the titular suite, and the stellar band does Garlands compositions full justice. Tonal and emotional range is impressive: Enter the Fire itself is arguably the most striking piece, but there are many good things on Spiritual/, the vigorously inquisitive Migration and the extrovert bridge, Kindling. Presencer is superb on each of his three appearances; the rythm-section is beautifully meshed, with Rebello consistently authoritative; and the leaders work is as cogent as it is passionate.
Elsewhere Simon is an agreeably commited opener, and there's more excellent Presencer on Spirit and the closing Inconclusion.
But to these ears, notwithstanding the quality of Garland's seven compositions and all that they bring out in the band, the two finest tracks are the duets with Rebello. Garland's tenor is mightily articulate on Colemans Rejoicing, while the pianist demonstrates in full measure why he is so highly regarded. And Garland's soprano investigation of Porgy is exquisite: annotator Rob Adams reports that Gershwin is one of Garland's chief heroes, and this labour of love is a triumph.
A very enjoyable and stimulating record then, which is also a most significant one, announcing the arrival of a musician who I suspect is destined for great things.
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