Reviewer: Justin Kownacki
Review Date: February 2003
Al Garcia believes the bass can be played as a stand-alone instrument, something
audiences accustomed to guitar solos occasionally need to be reminded. Garcia is
a skilled bassist and guitarist, and handles almost all the instrumental duties
on Make It So, with the exception of percussion, tabla and kanjira. The mood
ranges from progressive jazz to world music to something deep, dark and
insidious, alternating between the almost QVC-like production music of "On Cloud
Ten" and edgy, experimental fare, as on the captivating "Journey to the Center
of the Earth", which sounds like something PBS might have produced for 3-2-1
Contact and then discarded as being "too unnerving".
I was surprised at how much I enjoyed this album despite my initial misgivings in regard to the form -- sanitized jazz is not a style I usually cotton to, but to Garcia's credit, his masterful basswork is not irreparably hampered by suspect accompaniment. "A Bird in the Hand/Mosaic" bridges the gap between traditional jazz and modern jazz/progressive rock quite admirably, and the Latin flavor of "The Unexpected Answer" highlights the high-end and solo capabilities of the bass, to which few people ever give much thought. Garcia even makes a few scene-stealing turns on guitar, particularly on the title track. Make It So may not be a jazz album for everyone, but it's a solid lesson in the untapped riches of the bass.
-- Justin Kownacki