Billy Childs to Open Segerstrom Center's 2014-15 Jazz Season, 10/17
When composer/arranger/pianist Billy Childs was introduced to the music of Rock and Roll Hall of Fame singer-songwriter Laura Nyro at the age of 11, he was left with a powerful and lasting impression of Nyro's unique blend of Broadway-inspired melodies, jazz improvisations and socially conscious lyrics. Childs returned to that early experience for his latest project, creating and orchestrating his newest album, Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro. Orange County jazz fans will have the opportunity to hear Childs' loving homage to the late great Nyro at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Friday, October 17 at 8 p.m. in the Rene?e and Henry Segerstrom Concert Hall.
"I related to her more than the other singer-songwriters of that era because the piano was the engine that was driving a lot of her music," Childs said. "It was easy for me to escape into the world of the music because of its theatricality. The way she used silence, dynamics, going from extreme changes from very loud to very soft or vice versa - or heavily orchestrated to minimal. All of these were used to tell whatever story she was telling. Also, her words were not literal, more metaphorical and allegorical, so you could imagine what she was talking about and made it easier for me to conjure up images in my mind."
Childs is not alone in his enthusiasm for Nyro's work. The album features collaborations with artists such as classical soprano Rene?e Fleming and R&B chanteuse Ledisi, cellist Yo-Yo Ma and jazz stars Esperanza Spalding and Wayne Shorter. Other prominent voices include Alison Krauss, Rickie Lee Jones, Shawn Colvin, Dianne Reeves, Susan Tedeschi and featured instrumental soloists Chris Botti, Jerry Douglas, Chris Potter and Steve Wilson also perform. Lisa Fischer and Becca Stevens, who perform on the new recording, will join Childs for his Segerstrom Center concert.
"The way she hit me, and the way she continues to hit me is on an emotional level other than the intellect," Childs said. "If you love somebody, does that change? If you love your son, daughter, or mother does that change? I don't think so. Her music is such that it's so open for interpretation - you can spend
your life interpreting it and make the music mean certain things to you. It may mean different things as time goes on, but my relation to it has not."
Tickets to Billy Childs: Map to the Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro start at $29 and will go on sale Sunday, September 14 at 10 a.m. PST. Single tickets will be available online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about groups of 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236. The TTY number is (714) 556-2746.