Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Review Date: March 2011
California's multi-instrumentalist Al Garcia returns with his third release All Things Must Converge, an exciting jazz-fusion outing that shows off his more than capable skills on guitar, bass, drums, guitar synth, and various percussion.
From the opening cut "Labyrinth", you can quickly tell Garcia's love for all things Allan Holdsworth. The arrangements have that late 70's/early 80's Holdsworth feel, which is a good thing for those who miss the legend's classic period. Garcia's bass skills are damn impressive as well, as his style falls into Jeff Berlin territory at times, and he's also a mighty fine drummer to boot. "The Eternal Cycle" has a textured, dreamy feel to it, littered with layers of lush guitar chords, tricky drum fills, and slippery bass lines, while "Ligua Franca" offers some Latin rhythms over which Al's melodic lead guitar can solo over. Some interesting church organ sounds from the guitar synth kick off the blistering "A Distant Mirror", a tune that sees his guitar tone take on a more metallic sheen, battling the acrobatic bass on some complex unison lines before giving way to a sweeping guitar synth solo. His legato lines on "Two Shakes" are simply tremendous, and you really have to sit up and take notice of the man's technique, yet it's all delivered in a very tasteful, melodic way. Garcia's supreme bass skills are on display on "As Luck Would Have It", a soothing jazz number with busy drum fills and plenty of amazing fretless bass solos. After the majestic sounding "I've Been Known", the CD comes to a close with the near 8-minute "Simulacra", another tasty fusion number with just a slight Mahavishnu Orchestra feel to it, complete with jaw dropping guitar and bass work.
If you are at all interested in the music of Allan Holdsworth, Frank Gambale, Jeff Berlin, Return to Forever, and the Mahavishnu Orchestra, you owe it to yourself to check out All Things Must Converge. Al Garcia is a musician of many talents, and they are fully on display here for all jazz-fusion fans to enjoy.