Saturday, June 02, 2012

Rob Garcia's The Drop and the Ocean

Drummer-composer Rob Garcia has a new recording with his quartet on the label of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, The Drop and the Ocean (BJU Records). Garcia’s quartet is comprised of saxophonist Noah Preminger, pianist Dan Tepfer and bassist John Hebert on this recording of twelve Garcia originals. The title derives from the Sufi concept, which deals with the human experience as an individual (the drop), and the path to surrendering to something bigger (the ocean). A friend brought the concept and explained how we can try to hold so tightly to our individuality when we can let go and become the ocean.” Garcia’s compositions are musical contemplations and reflections on this.

The performances themselves display some rather inspired interplay among Garcia’s quartet. On the opening Will, Preminger asserts himself with his dry tone and a solo using staccato before Garcia takes a solo accented by Tepfer’s piano. Boundaries opens with Garcia setting the rhythm before Preminger and Tepfer engage in a brief dialogue before Garcia interjects leading to Tepfer’s atemporal playing against Garcia’s percussive counterpoint as Preminger restates the theme and takes a heated solo followed by Hebert’s solo. Lost By Mourning provides a contrasting mood with its pensive tone with some lovely tenor sax over understated accompaniment. The River suggests the classic Miles Davis’ recording, Nefertiti, with Preminger and Tepfer outstanding in their solos. Interspersed among the lengthier ensemble performances are three short, focused drum solo interludes entitled Flash.

Garcia’s compositions here transverse a wide range of styles ranging from ballads to free-bop and the excellent performances on The Drop and the Ocean exhibit marvelous ensemble playing and imaginative, focused soloing.

My review copy was provided by a publicist. Here is Rob Garcia 4 in performance.

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