Devin Roth: “Childhood Places” – a surprise jazz record that qualifies as an impressive find

As a composer and pianist, Devin Roth is inspired by his experiences, while his jazz-based music captures a broad variety of styles including classical, rock, Latin and Celtic. Childhood PlacesDevin’s debut album, features compositions inspired by the beautiful landscapes of British Columbia, Canada and the experiences of his adventurous outdoor upbringing.

Devon Roth
Devin Roth

The musicians featured on “Childhood Places” include: Derek Friesen – Trumpet, Andrew Van Tassel – Alto Saxophone, Jon Kenney – Trombone, Devin Roth – Piano, Ehud Ettun – Bass and Steve Wilkinson – Drums.

I’m not going to lie to you I’m one of those casual jazz listeners. Perhaps the day will come when I will have the kind of relationships with this timeless music that others seem to, but until that day, there are albums such as this.  “Childhood Places” is another one of those surprise jazz records that qualifies as an impressive find.

Easygoing, smooth and extremely accessible to the ‘untrained’ ear, Devin Roth composes and plays more with emotions, than he does with improvisational chord progressions. And when he does delve into bold, colorful progressions, he expresses them with spicy, all-inviting harmony.

Devin Roth and his band also know the secret of jazz soloing that too few impromptu gurus ever discover, and that is that a good jazz solo behaves in much the same manner as a good melody. It is what current pop and urban music aficionados would call a hook – every good melody has one. Jazz solos, when they work hypnotically well, are good for the same reason.

the album cover
the album cover

So when you finally discover all of these tendencies and nuances placed together, you’ll probably find yourself listening to one of the 9 tracks that make up the album “Childhood Places”; most likely “The Quarry”, “Kettle River”, “Loosing a Winning Battle”, “Borderline Blues”, “Mountain Dream or “Catharsis”.

The performances by all the musicians involved here are exhilarating, while the music is never is too challenging or too demanding – as some jazz records often tend to be – but always inspiring and mood-inducing. The real joys lie within the sounds of Devon and the other players; alive, spirited and bursting at the seams with creativity and an artistic pulse that never confuse the listener.

I cannot recommend this recording enough. Too often discoveries such as this album are disappointing on some level: the musicians aren’t at their best; the recording quality is poor, the music goes over the top of your head – none of that applies to this!

[quote bgcolor=”#dd9933″]MORE ABOUT DEVIN ROTH:
West coast Canadian born Devin Roth attended McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada where he studied with Juno Award winning pianist, Jeff Johnston, and Juno Award winning composer, Christine Jensen, to earn a Bachelor’s of Music Jazz Piano Performance. Following his graduation he was awarded a scholarship to attend the Jazz Composition program at New England Conservatory in Boston, MA where he studied with some of the world’s greatest jazz musicians including the legendary bassist Dave Holland, Grammy award winning bassist Cecil McBee and multiple Grammy nominated pianist Fred Hersch.  As a result of his high level of achievement, Devin received a Masters of Music with Academic Honors and was inducted into the Pi Kappa Lambda music honors society.[/quote]


Rick Jamm

Journalist, publicist and indie music producer with a fervent passion for electric guitars and mixing desks !

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