Michael Garrick & Jazz Britannia Orchestra (with Norma Winstone) - Children of Time

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Jazz Academy|JAZA12|***
Michael Garrick (p, comp), Norma Winstone (v), Martin Shaw, Steve Waterman, Mark Armstrong, Gabriel Garrick (t), Mark da Silva, Alistair White, Dave Eaglestone (tb), Martin Hathaway (as, cl), Matt Wates (as, ss), Bob McKay (bs, bcl), Jamie Anderson (ts), Mick Foster (ts, cl), Dominic Ashworth (g), Paul Moylan (b) and Alan Jackson (d). Rec. April-May 2005

Michael Garrick & Jazz Britannia Orchestra (with Norma Winstone) - Children of TimeInspired by the mythology of sacred beings, angels and their ilk, common to many religions and yet invisible to "natural" sense perception, much of this music is so good one can forgive Michael Garrick his teleological fantasies. Perhaps because of his earthly sources of stimuli, Ellington in particular but also Basie, there’s a nicely old-fashioned quality to Garrick’s arrangements. He’ll move a phrase or idea around the orchestra, create little miniatures within a piece or more traditionally have his musicians powering behind a soloist. Featuring the great Norma Winstone on several tracks and the fabulous Alan ‘Ajay’ Jackson on drums, this is a grand big band album.

Jamie Anderson on tenor is on great form on the flaming ‘Spirits of Fire’ and the opening ‘Spirits of Motion,’ while guitarist Dominic Ashworth is in fine fettle on the former and on ‘Shiva’ and the appropriately named son of Garrick plays beautiful fluegelhorn on ‘Night Time.’ But there’s also an unselfishness to this band that I love that’s best heard in the way the ensembles seem to coax, tease or cajole a soloist. It just seems so warm and friendly. Maybe it doesn’t shatter the earth or split the firmament asunder but it’s joyous music indeed.