Picks and Pans Review: Portrait of a Player

updated 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 04/19/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

Billy Childs

Since he records for Windham Hill, a label best known for its light-and-breezy new age fare, Childs has been slow to receive the recognition he deserves as a jazzman.

Backed by bassist Tony Dumas and drummer Billy Kilson on his fourth record as a leader, the 36-year-old pianist brings simmering danger to Cedar Walton's hard-driving "Bolivia" and John Coltrane's "Satellite." Childs's classical training (at USC) is evident in his fondness for incorporating counter melodies in his arrangements, and his liquid style is reminiscent of the pre-electric work of Herbie Hancock, whose classic "Speak Like a Child" inspired the wistful Childs original, "The End of Innocence."

Unfortunately, Kilson's drumming lacks sizzle and lends an air of predictability to the proceedings. Still, Childs serves notice that he is indeed a serious player.

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