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Alabastro by Age Garcia Trio

At first pass, Brazilian pianist Age Garcia's North American Debut, "Alabastro," seems like a pleasant enough exercise in background jazz with a subtle new-age flavor. That's a description that hardly does justice to the music, though, when more time and attention is given to Garcia's efforts.

While the moderate tempos and understated performance make this one easy to assign to the role of soundtrack for daily activities, Garcia has a gift for injecting subtle surprises into his compositions that will delight the attentive listener. The fluidity of his solo passages and a strong commitment to melody sometimes conceal some of the harmonic and rhythmic shifts he uses, but those are precisely the elements that carry this beyond the level of cocktail jazz and establish Garcia as a jazz talent in the lineage of Bill Evans and Keith Jarrett.

Garcia is backed by bassist David Wertman on nine of the ten original compositions here, with Aldo Ramon sitting in on bass for "Alegre," and both are sensitive to the material and very capable. It's the supporting role drummer Neal Backman that really captured my attention, though, especially for his very effective cymbal work. While Garcia is a well established composer, performer and musical director in his native Brazil, there's little about his music here that refers to that heritage directly. Backman, though, does inject some Latin rhythmic flourishes into the set and the arrangements benefit from his efforts.

Age Garcia has been in the US for a little over a year now, and is still in the process of establishing himself on an international level. "Alabastro" is a strong step toward success in a new musical arena, and leaves me looking forward to more.

Additional Info

  • Artist / Group Name: Age Garcia Trio
  • CD Title: Alabastro
  • Genre: Straight-Ahead / Classic
  • Year Released: 2002
  • Record Label: Golden Dome
  • Tracks: Little Bells For Jane, Nardo Purdo, Alabastro, Presence, Creating Wings, So Far, Mirra, Piano De Barro, Alegre, Party
  • Musicians: Age Garcia (piano), David Wertman (bass), Aldo Ramon (bass), Neal Backman (drums, percussion)
  • Rating: Four Stars
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