Magazine: L.A. Jazz Scene
Reviewer: Scott Yanow
Review Date: July 2006
Al Garcia is best known as a highly versatile and skilled bassist, but on Alternate Realities his bass playing is only part of the story. Although he can play all kinds of jazz, this is a fusion set in which Garcia is heard on electric and acoustic guitars, electric bass, guitar synthesizer, percussion (congas, bongos, timbales and hand percussion) and, on three numbers, drums. In fact, via overdubbing, he plays all of the instruments except for drums on five numbers (which are either by Chris Garcia or Dean Rohan) and a piano introduction by Fred Ramirez on “Secret Correspondences.”
To his credit, the ensembles on Alternate Realities sound very much like a working band rather than the playing of a single person. The nine originals are complex yet accessible and sometimes rather catchy.
While one is reminded in spots of the classic fusion of the Mahavishnu Orchestra, Return To Forever and perhaps Weather Report, this music is not quite as intense and self-consciously virtuosic, instead leaving space and paying attention to dynamics and pacing while sounding spontaneous.
Fusion has long been castigated by those who prefer acoustic jazz or mistake it with the recent smooth music. Al Garcia on Alternate Realities shows that there is plenty of creativity and life to be found in creative fusion. Alternate Realities is recommended and available from www.algarciamusic.com.