TIM GARLAND | London, Wigmore Hall

With a program that celebrated his friend and fellow jazz veteran Chick Corea, it seemed only appropriate that Tim Garland was accompanied at Wigmore Hall by some familiar faces. Asaf Sirkis joined with characteristically huge grin and with Yuri Golobev on double bass, it seemed like only Gwilym Simcock was absent from the usual suspects.

This was perhaps a surprising omission given the subject matter of the 1st half. As the trio initially attempted to fill the large acoustic space without a harmony instrument, the sound was a little thin at the outset. This was quickly rectified, however, as Thomas Gould and the Sacconi Quartet were welcomed on stage and added a welcome richness to the sound, accompanying Garland’s intricate free-flowing melodies.

The varied audience was treated to stories and insights of tours with Corea and an impressive display of versatility, including signature soprano sax, tenor sax and bass clarinet improvisations. Garland is a master of control – a beacon of talent who can play blisteringly fast and yet articulate every note with subtle expression.

Wigmore hall is a wonderful venue and its Renaissance design was a fitting match for the 2nd half and the rebirth of Stan Getz’s Focus, re-imagined as Garland’s Re-Focus in its UK premiere. Garland took Getz’s offbeat film music style and unison melodies, and then developed further movements into complex soundscapes, creating a far more daring sax odyssey, before returning to faithful tribute.

Thomas Gould provided a rare treat throughout, coming from a classical background but navigating jazz improvisation with apparent ease and skill. By all accounts though, the lineup and programme was guaranteed to be a crowd-pleaser and it certainly didn’t fail to deliver.

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