Childhood Places – Devin Roth

The gorgeous ‘Childhood Places’ by Devin Roth, performing as a sextet with some very find musicians, is a wonderful jazz story, feeling much like the journey through a number of vignettes related to what one might assume are Devin Roth’s personal memories (though two songs are written by band-member Steve Wilkinson). ‘Childhood Places’ demonstrates a wonderful understanding of the jazz genre, where piano, drums, bass and horn sections all combine harmoniously to create a wonderful listening experience. There’s a definite sense that a lot of work has gone into the album, whilst at the same time making everything seem natural and almost improvised, which gives it a lovely level of appeal and enjoyment.

‘Childhood Places’ utilities many of the strengths of the jazz genre, and is simply nothing more and nothing less. Each instrument plays a part on the album, acting almost as characters in a stage play, performing their own musical sections for the benefit of the overall album. Nothing seems to take the limelight at any given moment, as every instrument and it’s performer seem to just play to support each other. It gives off a sense of community between the members of the band, who all understand and strive for the same common goal when performing on the album. Musically, the album sounds wonderful, as it demonstrates not only a good understanding of the genre, but a wonderful array of different tracks. There’s some almost manic crazy jazz tracks, where everything seems to go into total organised chaos, and more gentle tracks where the instruments just slowly progress along their slow track. It’s a wonderful album that is easily very enjoyable.

I find my only faults with ‘Childhood Places’ is in the album’s first half, which seems somewhat weak when compared with the album’s second half. It seems to take a little bit of a while for Devin Roth (and his band)’s strengths to really come out. Despite the manic pace of the album’s opener, it seems to act almost a little sluggishly in terms of presenting the band’s strengths. It also seems that it’s only in the album’s later tracks do things really start to come together, where there’s no moments that seem a little dreary or sluggish. Once everything starts to come together, ‘Childhood Places’ comes across as a very strong album, that overshadows it’s own weaknesses with its many strengths.

I find there is a lot to enjoy on ‘Childhood Places’, which is simply a wonderful jazz album. Each performer on the album offers an incredible amount to the overall album, with nothing really sounding out of place or redundant. The wall of sound made up by each performer is just wonderful, and there’s a brilliant scope to the amount they can offer as well. I find the most enjoyable tracks to be the more slow tracks, where the instruments each have their own chance to sing out on the album, though the more pacy and manic tracks are equally enjoyable. It is a fine album by Devin Roth, who has managed to produce a wonderful jazz album that could easily be enjoyed by many.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★☆  4/5

Selected Songs:

  • Longing
  • Losing A Winning Battle
  • Mountain Dream
  • Catharsis

Devin Roth’s new album ‘Childhood Places’ is out now and can be purchased at: http://music.devinrothmusic.com/album/childhood-places

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