Jason Rebello on piano and Tim Garland on saxophone and bass clarinet
“Life to Life” is the title of an excellent CD by Jason Rebello and Tim Garland. Two of the finest British jazz musicians, they presented a programme of the same name at Shrewsbury School’s Maidment Building on 27th January as part of Shropshire Music Trust’s adventurous programme for 2023.
Tim Garland described the venue as their ideal; not too big and with an acoustic perfect for a performance such as theirs, which has no need of amplification. And how their sound filled the space! And how they swing! “Soul Resonance” by Jason opened the show, a fine showcase for the composer’s piano playing and the full-toned tenor sax of Tim Garland, who played soprano sax on another Rebello composition, “Fire of Benevolence”. Jason’s playing had a Debussy-like translucence; during the piano solo. Tim played a beautiful obligatto which was a feature of several works. This revealed the depth of the understanding of these two masters, an empathy born of many years’ collaboration which illuminated their interactive improvisations.
During the second half, Tim proved himself to be equally virtuosic on the bass clarinet, an instrument sometimes unkindly labelled, “the random note generator!”. Nothing random about Mr. Garland’s control of this beautiful instrument-especially in its lower register where it had a glorious, velvety sound. The Appalachian folk tune “Black is the colour of my true love’s hair”, was perhaps a surprising choice but which gave great scope for improvisation.
The entire evening was a delight, greatly enjoyed by a capacity audience. The playing of both musicians was revelatory; their solos were fluent, exciting and always tightly structured while introductions, usually by Tim, were always informative. What a triumph for the Music Trust’s first event of 2023!