Friday, January 20, 2012

Get to Know: Rob Garcia

Two musicians who have recently gotten a lot of press with great  discs in 2011 --  Dan Tepfer (see January 4 entry herein) and Noah Preminger ("Before the Rain" Palmetto 2011) -- support leader Rob Garcia on two BJU (Brooklyn Jazz Underground) label discs. These would be considered advanced post bop CDs with a lot of free play, but they hold close to melody and harmony with the nice tenor sound from Preminger and the solid grounding of Dan Tepfer.  The disc features nice group dynamics and strong underlying pulse courtesy of Garcia. ROB GARCIA : drummer & composer

Rob Garcia 4
BJU Records Product Details2009

This is a fun disc with the song titles related to flowering plants. It begines with a jaunty tune,  "Joe-Pye Weed" that demonstrates the strength of the group as a single unit having fun playing together. Preminger plays wonderful tenor on "Seasons of Stone," working with Garcia, Tepfer and Chris Lightcap (bass) in important, colorful support roles. Garcia stands out with prominent poly-rhythms on "Vortex," which also features colorful tenor playing and intense group play.  There's only one standard on Perennial, "Cherokee", which is nicely adapted to the group's punchy style.  


Rob Garcia 4
The Drop and the Ocean
BJU Records

Product DetailsThis is another adventurous recording of post-bop music sprinkled with some free/avant garde playing, again retaining the melodic approach to each piece. Garcia's music is very adventurous and the players grasp it with a verve that is clearly felt when listening. John Herbert replaces Lightcap on bass, with Tepfer and Preminger reprising their roles. The album is titled after the Sufi concept, which deals with the human experience as an individual (the drop), and the path to surrendering to something bigger (the ocean). Garcia explains further, “I was very inspired by this concept when a friend first brought it to me. She explained how we can try to hold so tightly to our individuality when we can let go and become the ocean. The CD opens with a pulsating song, “Will”, referring to the will of the individual, followed by “Boundaries”, which is about listening to what your higher-self is telling you in those challenging moments and acting upon it”. Garcia includes three drum improvisations as interludes, “Flash #1, #2, and 3#” which are intended to reflect on how short and precious our time here is. There is a lovely ballad, “Lost By Morning” , and later “The Return” is about “returning to our true selves, a process and an event that can happen countless times in our lives,” explains Garcia. Preminger plays some lovely piano on the disc, both inside the melodies as well as on several free-flow sections withthe team in great quartet play.The band brings out  individual soloing as well as their creative collaborative skills, their ability to interact, to play off of one anothers' ideas and to meld into a cohesive unit.

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