Reviewer: MJ Brady
Review Date: August 2006
This is the second cd I have had the pleasure of reviewing by Al Garcia, and trust me when I say, that Al Garcia needs to be heard by todays hardcore fusion fans, Al is a very proficient musician both as a bassist and guitarist, yet most notable of his talents are his innate imaginative compositions, which demand technical excellence, which are delivered not only by Al Garcia, but a supporting cast of more than capable musicians. Perhaps Al needs to find a clever band name to get his music more exposed, none the less, what I have been enjoying about this cd, is that the music provides a depth of complexity that reaches far beyond most fusion that is being heaped out these days. Crafting instrumental music that challenges the listener is not the common approach for many musicians in this genre, few are taking the time not only to refine their skills as musicians, but to painstakenly create elaborate themes and progressions to which they execute those same skills is the sign of a serious technician.
Al Garcia's music on Alternate Realities treads the fine line of jazz/rock fusion and progressive instrumental, meaning, the songs are not merely mundane vehicles for stunt soloing in each instrument, but highly refined songs with direction and sophistication, the music certainly would appeal greatly to those of you that have bands like Bruford, Happy the Man, Helmet Of Gnats, Metheny, Tribal Tech, Weather Report, Caldera, DiMeola, and other in your collections of favorites. Al himself cites the likes of Holdsworth, Eric Johnson, Jeff Berlin, Bela Bartok, Brand X, ELP, Jaco, Yes, etc as major influences to his love and passion for music, and with his feet standing in both the fusion and progressive worlds, it is no mistake that his music perfectly reflects his deepest regard for these challenging musical cultures.
At the point of this review, my feelings are that Al Garcia needs to be heard by the fusion circles that are existing today, this cd rates as some of the most well arranged instrumental music I have had the pleasure of musing over in recent years, and as for his playing? It's rare when I cannot tell a multi-tasking artist's first instrument, and in Al's case, it's really blurry to me whether he prefers the bass over the guitar, not that it matters, as his mastery of each is ever present through each song here, he displays not only true artistic expression on each instrument, but also quite a diverse arsenal of genre's are exhibited as well.