“I’ve always been into movies. Being in Los Angeles, you’re kind of inundated with music as related to cinema. It kind of made its way into how I compose music.”
– Billy Childs
Over a storied career touching six decades, Billy Childs has become a master composer of both jazz and modern classical music. Between gigs writing chamber pieces, violin concertos, and music for classical ensembles big and small, he records Grammy-winning jazz albums and fills houses worldwide as one of the hottest pianists on the scene. But it’s precisely his scene that holds the secret sauce to his success. While most jazz musicians gravitate to The Big Apple to cut their teeth or secure a reputation, Billy stayed in his hometown of Los Angeles. “I didn’t think I should be required to live in New York City in order to be deemed a credible jazz musician,” he says. “If everybody says, ‘You should do this,’ then I’m the person who says, ‘I don’t think I’m going to do that.’”
On his new jazz album, “The Winds of Change,” that special mix of creative rebellion and curiosity shines like the California sun – where music genres meet and mingle more readily. Much of the sound was inspired by nostalgia for his L.A. youth, along with classic film noir, and great film composers like Jerry Goldsmith, Bernard Herrmann and John Williams. Forming an all-star quartet with the phenomenal trumpeter and fellow Californian Ambrose Akinmusire, bassist Scott Colley, and 32 Bar Blues featured artist Brian Blade on drums, Billy has created some of the most evocative compositions of his career. But it’s the thrilling, deeply sophisticated interplay of the band that makes this album so dynamic – and so necessary for your collection.
Winner of 5 Grammy Awards and numerous accolades through the years, Billy has worked with artists such as Wynton Marsalis, Sting, Yo-Yo Ma, Renée Fleming, and the Kronos Quartet. A piano prodigy at age 6 and USC composition student by 16, Billy was discovered and hired right out of college by trumpet legend Freddie Hubbard, which launched his illustrious trajectory. DownBeat reports, “The same creative spirit that’s propelled him from the bands of bop giants as a 20-something side-player to a composer renowned throughout concert halls and across jazz festival stages remains unhampered.”
Listen to Billy Childs' "Crystal Silence"
Listen to Billy Childs' "Master of the Game"