Reviewer: MJ Brady
Review Date: August 2002
Rarely have I heard a musician that can double on the bass and guitar with the proficiency that I am hearing from Al Garcia. If anything, many musicians will claim to be dominant on one instrument and a novice at another, but with Al Garcia, this is not the case, and this review will seemingly be as if I were reviewing two musicians, Al Garcia the bassist, and Al Garcia the guitarist. He states artists of the caliber of Bunny Brunel, Jeff Berlin, Victor Wooten and Jaco Pastorius as great influences on his bass playing, and this fact is very apparent in listening to this cd, he has studied well, showing a similar feel to not one, but all of these great musicians, he has a great feel for melody during his leads on bass, sometimes reminding me of Brian Bromberg. The fact that Al is such a talent on the bass means the music features the instrument as a soloing and rhythm accompaniment, and is mixed very upfront throughout this recording by, you guessed it, Al Garcia, the engineer/producer. Al Garcia, the guitarist, shows the very influences of Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, & Eric Johnson, he is a very intriguing guitar player, and his attraction to the music of these giants of the guitar, is shown in great detail on this recording, he uses similar ambiant phrasing that are heard on many of Holdsworth's recordings, and he has a blistering legato technique to go with it, though I would like to hear more of his guitar playing on future recordings, as his bass is the main attaction on this cd. He is able to accomplish the creative flow of his compositions, by being able to perform all the instruments, with the exception of the programmed drums, which for the most part are convincing, though there are just a few moments when they seem somewhat mechanical, this point takes nothing away from this debut recording of a superbly gifted musician however, and shouldn't dissuade your interest in this cd. Al's writing has it's base set in jazzfusion, which, when looking at the list of his influences shouldn't surprise, he has songs that remind of Holdsworth, Weather Report, Electric Band, Gambale, Brian Bromberg. Al Garcia has the tools to make a name for himself on the jazzfusion scene, what maturity he shows on this cd is far from what most anyone would expect from a debut recording, sophisticated arrangements, complex chord structures, and challenging time signatures are not the stuff of novices. The fact that he not only performed basses and guitars, but he was the composer, engineer, & percussionist, and keyboardist, this shows that he is one that has an unending dedication to the pursuit of all aspects of the recording process, as well as the mastery of his chosen instruments, and the finer points of the musical theory realm. Now someone get him a drummer so he can take a break! If you are a lover of the bass, jazzfusion, and Holdsworthian guitar, Al Garcia has a cd for you to check out, and you can find it at Guitar Nine or Cd Baby, or get hold of it at his website, which is linked on this page.