A jazz suite not just for Christmas

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The Infant: A Jazz Suite For Christmas is multi-instrumentalist and composer Tim Boniface’s latest work, to be released on CD and digitally in November 2019. ​Following his debut jazz suite, The Eight Words (2016), Tim Boniface’s The Infant offers an original, deep and joyful exploration of Christmas, taking inspiration from the characters in the Christmas stories from Luke’s Gospel. Alongside Tim on alto and tenor saxophones, The Infant features the exceptional rhythm section of Phil Merriman (piano), Ed Babar (bass), and Jon Ormston (drums), plus a powerful appearance from renowned UK vocal star Polly Gibbons, who injects her remarkable energy into a reprise of the sixth movement, Good News.

The venerable British jazz critic Brian Case writes of The Infant:

“A diehard view: ‘Those who listen to jazz usually hold aloof from popular music – the sophistication of jazz versus the plausible crudities of much pop’. Jazz is seen as too hard, too clever, too twiddly. Well, I’ve been a diehard jazz fan for 70 years, a jazz writer for 40 and still can’t read music. The jazz here should give no-one’s wig a headache, for it is tuneful, sincere and exciting. And it swings.

“Tim Boniface’s quartet play beautifully together on his compositions, which comprise a jazz suite for Christmas. Tim is a priest and a man of faith. His intention was to echo musically the personnel of the nativity – Mary, Gabriel, and the shepherds, amongst others – and their words are the inspiration behind the improvisations. But agnostics, atheists, and those of different faith can listen without any knowledge of that, or indeed to John Coltrane’s spiritual classic A Love Supreme.

“This is fine music. Some solos will blow you away: Tim’s impassioned tenor and alto, Phil Merriman’s piano – is there anything he can’t do? – as well as the smart interlocking of the responsive rhythm section. There is a bonus track with singer Polly Gibbons: Good News is a jam session so exciting that you never want it to end. You’ll wish you were there. Her wonderful voice and belting delivery come close to the Pentecostal atmosphere. ‘Oh wow!’ was my reaction. Very scholarly…

“So, a fine celebration for Christmas – ‘good news of great joy for all the people’, indeed”.

The Tim Boniface group perform The Infant in Oxford, Cambridge, London and Tonbridge in the run up to Christmas. See timboniface.co.uk/the-infant for more details or to order the CD.

This article was produced with the assistance of the artist.