Apr 24, 2016
Artist-run organizations are a new and successful trend in the jazz world, and Rob Garcia has been a major force in this new way for jazz to continue and thrive. He is the founder and executive director of an artist-run, non-profit organization called Connection Works, which presents world-class jazz performances and educational events to the Brooklyn community. He is a member of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, an association of independent artists with a shared commitment to creativity and community. He was also a founding member of the Douglass Street Music Collective, an artist-run rehearsal and performance space, featuring some of New York’s most creative and cutting edge musicians/composers.
A top composer, arranger,
drummer and band leader, Garcia has released a number of top CDs:
Place of Resonance, which features Dave Kikoski
and Mike Formanek; Heart's Fire;
Perennial with Noah Preminger, Dan Tepfer, and
Chris Lightcap; and his latest release, finding love in an oligarchy
on a dying planet. This presciently titled album features
Preminger, Gary Versace and Masa Kamaguchi, with guest spots from
the likes of Joe Lovano, Kate McGarry and Brendan Burke.
With song titles as startling as “terror, fear and media” and “guns make killing easy,” you might expect a dissonant, atonal work. Nothing could be further form the truth. In fact, the CD begins with a fairly straight reading of Stephen Foster’s “Beautiful Dreamer”. While he works intriguing rhythms and drum fills into the tunes, they remain accessible, primarily due to Preminger’s tenor playing. Kate McGarry’s vocals lend a welcome touch to two strong tunes with positive messages, “people are everything” and “the journey is the destination.” The band is tight throughout, and I particularly enjoyed the integration of Kamaguchi’s basslines in a number of tunes.
Podcast 530 is my conversation with Rob Garcia, as we talk about the new CD, the Brooklyn Jazz Underground label where he has thrived, and the many artists for whom he has been the main man behind the drum kit. Musical selections from the new CD include “Greenland is turning green”, “the journey is the destination” and the title track, plus "String and Poise" from a previous release, The Drop and the Ocean.