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Two superb pieces of Detroit jazz


Billy Childs, "Rebirth" (Mack Avenue) and Christian Sands, "Reach" (Mack Avenue)

This is two generations of superb mainstream jazz pianists coming from the same stellar mainstream Detroit jazz label.

Billy Childs, at the age of 60, made his first record in a group with J.J. Johnson and has performed with everyone from Freddie Hubbard to Diane Reeves and Gladys Knight. Paying tribute to Childs in the disc notes is no less than Vijay Iyer.

Christian Sands is less than half Childs' age but announces himself loudly as a powerful talent on "Reach." Childs' quartet on "Rebirth" features Steve Wilson on reeds, bassist Hans Glawisching and the very fine drummer Eric Harland. Claudia Acuna contributes a beautiful vocalise to the terrific title track of the record. The first cut on Sands' record is called "Armando's Song" and was inspired by Chick Corea (Armando is Corea's real first name.) What it introduces to us is a fluent, post-bop piano player and composer whose first mentor was Billy Taylor. In the Taylor  (and Corea) mode, he's both a solid pianist and a very interesting composer whose original tunes are that great rarity in modern jazz composition -- so melodically and harmonically and modally interesting that rich and beautiful versions of them could be performed by other musicians.

These are very good jazz piano records, both.

3 1/2 stars (out of four)


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