Review by Willard Manus

Piano wizard Billy Childs is back with a new album, REBIRTH, on which he leads a small group of his favorite musicians–-saxophonist Steve Wilson, bassist Hans Glawischnig and drummer Eric Harland–-on a swinging trip down memory lane.


Childs revisits three tunes from his 1980s Windham Hill Jazz Records days, “Stay,” “Backwards Bop” and “Starry Night,” making them sound fresh and compelling. Then he brings in such guest artists as vocalist Claudia Acuna (on “Rebirth”), trombonist Ido Meshulam and percussionist Rogerio Boccato (on “Stay”) to add special touches to those haunting ballads.

Born in Los Angeles in 1957, Childs is not only a pianist but a composer who has written both jazz and classical works (including a commission from L.A. Philharmonic and L.A. Chorale). He has also played in the bands of J.J. Johnson and Freddie Hubbard, and backed up singers like Diana Reeves and Laura Nyro. Among his many additional illustrious collaborators are The Kronos Quartet, Sting, Wynton Marsalis and The Lincoln Jazz Center Orchestra.

With such a musical pedigree, it’s no wonder that his latest album captivates from beginning to end. Put simply, it’s modern jazz at its finest. (