Tim Garland‘s album builds on the composer’s If The Sea Replied (2005), and includes a set of related pieces for the Lighthouse Trio.
The research imperative is to challenge the boundaries of composition within jazz, exploring techniques which ‘balance’ notated and improvised music (e.g., drawing on a variety of Classical and folk procedures, various uses of counterpoint, and attention to register, compensating for the absence of a bass player).
A constant focus of the compositional process is the limits of the effectiveness of extended harmony in expanding improvisational choices. CD 1 includes a four-movement ‘concerto’ for the Trio and a conventional orchestra. The first movement, ‘SunGod’, for orchestra alone, deliberately eschews its conventional use in jazz as simply ‘backing’.
In the second ‘movement’, ‘MoonGod’, the orchestral sound world is first established before the soloists join in transforming its material in a search for balance between the artistic forces; they reach coexistence, and then engage in exchanges in their different languages, but as equals.
The third movement, ‘On SunGod’ is a jazz re-imagining of the orchestral ‘original’, leading to the album’s eponymous track, ‘Libra’, which amalgamates previous themes. Here, the 10 beat samaii 3+4+3 rhythmic pattern, partly hidden in ‘SunGod’, emerges more fully, as it also does in a later piece, ‘Old Man Winter’. Other tracks such as ‘Arabesque for Three’ pursue within a jazz framework themes that are not derived solely from bass-led harmony.