The Old Man Tells His Story

The opening minute of this Billy Childs track is lullingly cinematic, but there’s a bit more to this particular old man’s story. Lines go where you expect they will, but sometimes they don’t. Plenty of side trips, new styles tried. It’s a life, and from the sound of it, one well lived. Musically, the piece straddles the jazz and chamber music worlds—lush string and horn writing around one corner, piano-bass-drum explorations around another—to make a hybrid genre that isn’t over-conscious of itself. It’s a characteristic of the entire album, for that matter, producing a sound characterized by Childs as “not dazzlingly in-your-face, but meant to get under your skin.” Another worthy offering on the Artistshare label, this CD is only available online at