Our Classical Californian this week is LA-based jazz pianist and composer Billy Childs, who just won a Grammy for his recording The Winds of Change. He cites several jazz keyboard players as influences, including Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea, but there are a couple of unexpected ones as well. There's the prog-rock keyboard player Keith Emerson, whose solos in the band Emerson, Lake & Palmer made him want to play the piano... and also the orchestral style of Paul Hindemith, in his symphonic work Mathis der Maler. We'll also hear a piece that he wrote for the Lyris Quartet, inspired by a classic chamber work by Janáček.
He begins in the world of jazz, with an excerpt that shows Herbie Hancock as a composer, soloist, as well as arranger, in his "I Have a Dream." Click to listen to his introduction!
Herbie Hancock: I Have a Dream
Then, to the prog-rock innovator, Keith Emerson, who Billy Childs says is often underrated. He chose the middle movement, a solo piano section from The Three Fates called "Lachesis".
Keith Emerson: The Three Fates - ii. Lachesis (1:52-4:31)
He was similarly drawn to the orchestration of Paul Hindemith, the first time he heard the symphonic work Mathis der Maler. Here's the movement called "The Temptation of St. Anthony."
Paul Hindemith: Mathis der Maler - The Temptation of St. Anthony
Billy Childs ends with one of his own classical works, a string quartet he wrote for the Lyris Quartet, to comment on Leoš Janáček's String Quartet No. 2, "Intimate Letters." His is called "Unrequited".
Billy Childs: String Quartet No. 3, "Unrequited"