The Rob Garcia 4 is a working group that has been, "among the vanguard of modern jazz" (The NYC Jazz Record) since 2009. Garcia has led them through performances at major venues and festivals around the world, such as Smalls Jazz Club, The Kitano, The Cornelia Street Cafe, Firehouse 12, Brooklyn Jazz Wide Open, The Rex (Toronto), Jamboree (Barcelona), The Toronto Jazz Festival, The Kingston Jazz Festival (Canada) and the Ottawa International Jazz Festival. The group has released three critically acclaimed albums on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records, Perennial (2009), The Drop and the Ocean (2011), and The Passion Of Color (2014), and is now poised to release their compelling fourth album, Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet, available on Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records on April 29, 2016, featuring Noah Preminger (tenor saxophone), Gary Versace (piano) and Masa Kamaguchi (bass), and special guests, jazz legend Joe Lovano, vocalist Kate McGarry, and actor, musician and activist Brendan Burke.
"The title of the album is not necessarily meant to be a protest nor a solution, but essentially an expression and blunt statement of what I (and many others) encounter and perceive on a daily basis. 'Finding Love' refers to the personal endeavors which I am extremely fortunate to regularly engage in, such as playing, practicing and writing music, having a family, raising children, spending time with friends, etc. I also read the news and it affects me . . . human suffering throughout the world caused by greed for money and power, racism, the disregard for human life, war, shootings, terrorism and people's reactions to it, how the planet is becoming less fit for human life (as well as many other species). I donate money to good causes, occasionally go to a rally, sign and promote petitions, but I feel pretty powerless against all the injustices going on. At the very least, this title suggests an acknowledgement, in no uncertain terms, of the society and world we currently live in", said Garcia.
Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet is also an album born from musicians with exceptional convictions. Rob Garcia's drumming and composing are once again fully realized and assured, both in the execution of his distinctive concept, and in his lovely, singular sound, clearly evident on the two solo drum pieces, "Act Local #1" and "Act Local #2", and present throughout the entire album. Noah Preminger is not so quietly becoming a major contributor to the art and legacy of the tenor saxophone. Two highlights for him are the tracks, "Terror, Fear and Media", and "Greenland is Turning Green" (playing on this tune alongside special guest Joe Lovano). Pianist Gary Versace is a first-call musician in many circles, and his playing on Finding Love . . . is nothing short of superlative, with every track a highlight. Bassist Masa Kamaguchi is the bedrock, delivering uber-creative support and interaction, allowing the others to soar. The traditional American folk song "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier" features his unique approach to the double bass.
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The album opens with Stephen Foster's American classic, "Beautiful Dreamer" as an ode to the importance of "dreaming of a better world". "People Are Everything" features vocalist Kate McGarry beautifully delivering Garcia's lyrics and melody. The song addresses inequality, hypocrisy and the suggestion of our oneness. "Terror, Fear and Media" is a high-energy barnburner featuring stop time solos by Preminger and Garcia as well as a tremendous piano solo by Versace. Tenor sax legend Joe Lovano enters the album with his heart-felt interpretation of Garcia's ballad "Precious Lives". "Mac N Cheese" offers a departure from the rest of the album by featuring actor, musician and activist Brendan Burke and his original spoken words. "The Journey Is The Destination" features both special guests Lovano and McGarry. Garcia wrote this song 10 years prior, but a recording of it was never previously released. "Greenland Is Turning Green" features both tenor saxophonists Lovano and Preminger with a contrapuntal melody and compelling solos. The traditional American folk song "Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier" features bassist Masa Kamaguchi. The album takes the listener on a musical journey commenting on the time and world we live in.
Rob Garcia's musical relationships are important to him, and the longevity and camaraderie that he shares with these musicians contribute mightily to the refinement one can hear on Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet. Garcia first met Joe Lovano while attending NYU. In 2007, Garcia formed Connection Works, and Lovano agreed to be part of the advisory board. Lovano recently performed with WORKS (the resident ensemble of Connection Works) at the Lake George Jazz Festival. This musical relationship has been growing over the past several years and naturally led to recording together. Noah Preminger and Garcia have been playing together in the Rob Garcia 4 as well as other projects since 2009 when they first played together in John McNeil's group. Garcia and Masa Kamaguchi have played on and off since the late 1990s. Preminger, Kamaguchi and Garcia also perform as a collective trio. They have toured Europe a number of times, and released an album on entitled Background Music. Garcia has always been a big fan of Gary Versace's playing since working together in various projects over the years, and was very happy to reconnect for this recording. Garcia met Kate McGarry a few years ago when she performed with John Hollenbeck's Large Ensemble at a concert produced by Connection Works. He loves her singing and ability to authentically communicate lyrics. Garcia has been good friends with actor, musician and activist Brendan Burke since high school in Pelham, NY. "I'm so thrilled to have Brendan, one of my oldest and best friends, take part in this project. He nailed it!", said Garcia.
2-People Are Everything
3-Terror, Fear and Media
5-Mac n Cheese (Bank Fees, Dead Bees, Killing Trees, Shooting Sprees, War Thieves, Mac n Cheese)
6-Act Local #1
7-Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet
8-The Journey Is The Destination
9-Guns Make Killing Easy
10-Greenland Is Turning Green
11-Johnny Has Gone For A Soldier
12-Whatever Gets You By
13-Act Local #2