Pictured: Billy Child (Photographer: Raj Naik)

The Melbourne International Jazz Festival categorises Billy Childs in the ‘Modern Masters’ section of the program – and for good reason, this is one performer who is the real deal.

A genuine master, he is reminiscent of the artists one imagines from the Jazz Age of the 1920's and 30's. Billy Childs is not only a five-time Grammy award winner and piano virtuoso, but also a clear expert in the dexterity of his music, showing what is possible when one composes with a relaxed and intelligent fluidity and restraint.

Virtually schooling the audience on the possibilities between complex and simple jazz pieces, he takes the lucky audience on a journey into music, comfortably moving his Quartet between arrangements that would challenge many a talented musician. Clearly the Quartet are skilled musicians and enjoy the wonderful rapport that exists between the composer, and his original pieces, which are emotive and diverse for the audience, at every turn.

Billy Childs (Photographer: Raj Naik)

Beginning with the wonderfully simple but elegant piece titled Rebirth, his entire show is the perfect explanation of how jazz has grown and changed, and still retains that contrast of melody and beat, demonstrating not only the wonderful talent and fluidity of the musicians, but the intelligence and sensitivity behind the composing of the music.

Delivering a performance like no other, Billy Childs’ music transports you somewhere entirely different, capturing the spirit of the genre, while also showing how it can change and grow to become an entirely new form of music again.

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

One-word: Inspirational