Grammy Award-winning pianist to play Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Feb. 21

February 19, 2018 | Arts, Events, UToday, Arts and Letters
By Angela Riddel

Billy Childs, who took home the Grammy Award for Best Jazz Instrumental Album for “Rebirth” last month, will visit The University of Toledo this week.

The five-time Grammy Award-winning pianist will perform at the Department of Music’s Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Concert Wednesday, Feb. 21, at 7 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.


Since his first recordings in the 1980s, Childs has developed into a distinctive and distinguished composer. An accomplished symphonic writer, he has amassed jazz originals that can swing hard, dazzle with intricacy, touch with direct simplicity, or mesmerize with crystalline lyricism.

On his new Mack Avenue debut album “Rebirth,” Childs reaches back to the start of his astoundingly varied musical experience — leading a small jazz band of state-of-the-art musicians with his piano playing.

At his musical core, Childs is an improvising pianist. He has the ability to equally distill the harmonic and rhythmic languages of classical music and jazz into his playing. The wide-ranging vocabulary on the taut track “Tightrope” begs the question of Childs’ love of classical music; “I’m not just jazz,” he stressed.

His insistent pulse and melodically probing introduction to song is a key to his musical identity: welcome extended harmonic possibilities as they come along, take a flexible approach to time, and leave an open door for input from bandmates.

While on campus, Childs also will conduct a free master class at 2 p.m. in the Center for Performing Arts Recital Hall.

A cash bar will be available the night of the concert.

Tickets are $20 each and are available at the door and through the Center for Performing Arts Box Office at 419.530.ARTS (2787), as well as online at

All proceeds from the concert benefit the UT Department of Music’s Art Tatum Memorial Jazz Scholarship Program. This scholarship is awarded to African-American students pursuing a degree in jazz performance at UT.

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