Despite this anomaly Garland is in demand around the entire world and, as his Lighthouse Trio's Libra (Global Mix, 2009) demonstrates, with good reason. The second of this two-disc set captures Garland, with trio members Asaf Sirkis (percussion) and Gwilym Simcock (piano), in a live setting, displaying all the energy and innovation which has won the group so many plaudits. Simply put, there few jazz trios quite as compelling as The Lighthouse Trio. But it is the first disc which is the most arresting; here, Garland's imaginative writing brings jazz trio improvisation into the womb of a modern orchestral setting, in this case the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.
Garland is not the first, and is certainly not the only composer to attempt to fuse such musical polar opposites. Nevertheless, his synthesis of these two genres, and his attempt at achieving balance between the power and structure of an orchestra and the chamber intimacy and freedom typical of the best small jazz groups, places him amongst the foremost composers at the forefront of what Günther Schuller has termed The New Frontier.
Another recording, Celebrating Bach (Audio-B Recordings, 2009), sees Garland interpreting the music of Bach and Stravinsky on soprano saxophone in the company of the Northern Symphonia. Where Garland finds the time to also compose concertos for piano, saxophone and cello, as well as compose film scores is anybody's guess, though one suspects he has more hours than the usual twenty four in his days.
All About Jazz: Libra was three years in the making which is obviously a big investment, but you must be very pleased with the results, no?
Tim Garland: Yeah, absolutely. I remember talking with the people who did the artwork and they asked me how long it had taken, so when I told them I think they felt the gravity of how I felt about it. As a result I'm also very happy with the way it looks, which is all credit to them; they really pushed the boat out on my behalf. Of course, I'm really happy. Even if you listen back after the band has worked so long and you think "Oh, we play this much better now" but that is probably true of every recording. I wouldn't say better, I'd say differently.