Al Garcia: Guitarist, Bassist, Composer

Al Garcia: Alternate Realities


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Alternate Realities
Two sections that alternate between time signatures in 4/4 and 7/4 form the basis of this piece. It also alternates between moods. Towards the middle, there is an interesting bass solo that is played over an undulating string pad. The tune also features a guitar solo in a legato style reminiscent of Allan Holdsworth.

Turning Point
The centerpiece of this tune is a guitar synth solo played with a horn like sound. The lilting melody that is heard throughout the piece is first played on the bass then picked up by the guitar-synth.

The Red Queen’s Race
This tune is a mixture of progressive rock and fusion influences. It begins with a rapid fire unison line that leads into the chordal melody that forms the core of the piece. Towards the middle is a guitar solo played over "the race": a fast and difficult bass and drum accompaniment. The beginning of the guitar solo is played using an E-Bow.

Secret Correspondences
This piece begins with a beautiful unaccompanied piano solo improvised by Fred Ramirez. Fred is an amazing keyboardist and vibraphone player who deserves to be better known ( The bass, keyboards, and drums play parts loosely based on Cuban Songo rhythms. The harmonic structure of this high powered tune, however, doesn’t sound Latin at all.

Material Prima
A variety of Cuban rhythms including Mozambique, guguanco, cha cha loca fun, and songo create the foundation for this mostly acoustic piece. The bass part and a synth string pad are the only parts played on electric/electronic instruments. I had a great time recording all of the percussion parts: congas, timbales, udo drum, claves, guiro, shaker, vibra slap, and wood block.

Three of a Kind
The title of this song refers to the three musical sections that comprise the piece. The first section begins with a mysterious sounding arpeggiated motif played on the guitar. This segues into a series of volume pedal swells. The second section then begins with the full band playing a jazz-rock motif. The next section moves into a completely different feel that hints at hip-hop and bebop. After a guitar solo, the piece move through the first two sections in reverse order. The overall outline is: A – B – C – B – A. The song ends with a restatement of the introduction, this time played by the full band.

The Pleasures of Progress
I have always loved literary and cinematic science-fiction. This piece is an attempt to create the experience of a good science-fiction story in music. The music tells the story of a race of automatons that are changing into something more than mere machines. It was a challenge making the music sound mechanical yet somehow organic at the same time.

A Place in the Sun
The rhythms of this piece are based on traditional Brazilian and Cuban rhythms. Chris Garcia’s drumming keeps the spirit of these traditions while adding something new. The piece features a bass solo, guitar-synth solo, and two drum solos by Chris.

Calculated Risk
This piece was an experiment for me. For a long time I’ve wanted to write a piece based on counterpoint in which none of the instruments play chords. Something similar to what Bach would have written had he been exposed to jazz-rock and progressive rock. All of the harmony results from the combination of three intertwining melodic lines that are played on guitar, bass, and synthesizer. The piece begins with a statement of the main theme which leads to guitar, bass, and guitar synth solos. The solos are separated by variations of the main theme. The bass solo is especially interesting. I used distortion and a Holdsworth like legato technique with the results sounding something like a cross between an elephant and a cello!