Jacob Garchik

Romance

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Creative improvisers are generally a hearty, fearless lot, ready and willing to play loud, hard, and strong. This effort from trombonist Jacob Garchik will not set a new jazz standard for romantic ballads, but instead establishes a more reserved and refined tone for music played from the heart. With pianist Jacob Sacks and percussionist Dan Weiss, care and craft are melded with patience and virtue during a collection of spontaneous compositions where taking turns is the imperative. There's a simplicity imprinted on this music rarely heard in this style, and it is quickly established on the first two tracks, "Initiate" and "Medium." Fractured, brittle snippets and quips are played in succession, using a semi-bluesy theme or a light bop inference, respectively. Where "Out of Focus" is ultimately spacious and sparse, "Focus" is based on a one-note foundation with Weiss on tabla. Unison playing and quicker lines in and out of direct contact signify the universally listenable "Unis," and "One Note" is similar to "Focus" but develops fully, featuring a sanguine vocal from Judith Berkson. "Just Look at Us" sports a bop rhythmic backdrop with Berkson adopting a somber earth mother stance very similar to Jeanne Lee. There are other moments of introspection, calming reassurance, oblique rhythms, and in the case of "Mahi," a building drama especially forged from the piano of Sacks. As an emerging talent moving away from the mainstream music he learned as a student, the pianist is making his presence known in different contexts, and on this recording as a subtle but commanding presence. Garchik is quite a competent and thoughtful trombonist, holding allegiance to nobody in particular, and choosing to contribute to the collective whole. He's neither startling nor passive, and could hardly be termed middle of the road, but uses good common sense to create a sound that is completely his own within the fine art of restraint.

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