By Bill Meyer | Published June 2022
The title of Jacob Garchik’s latest recording binds two separate, but essential, concerns. How does one resolve the matter of getting musicians together to play socially based music in the middle of a pandemic? And how does one put this stuff together? Assembly addresses both problems with remarkable success. February 2021 in New York was not the best time and place to bring together a live band with a couple horns. So, the trombonist convened his ensemble at EastSide Sound, a Manhattan recording establishment with six isolation rooms. In that pre-vaccinated time, it afforded the quintet the chance to get together and play with a substantially reduced risk of infecting each other. The setting also enabled him to get separate recordings of each musician playing simultaneously with their four counterparts, which he took away to cut, paste and reorganize into new arrangements. The resulting music’s immediacy belies its protracted production. While the title “Bricolage” augurs a cobbled-together result, Sam Newsome delivers a probing, cohesive solo over bass and trombone loops. But you don’t have to care about the recording methodology to be touched by the music’s emotional core. “Homage” may have been constructed from several overlaid performances, but it’s the music’s grand, bluesy cry, not the cleverness with which its parts were combined, that commands attention. And while the pieced-together ensemble sequences that open and close “Fanfare” dazzle with their intricacy, a listener is just as likely to be lured back for another listen to the intimate warmth of the exchanges between Sacks and Garchik during the composition’s languorous midsection.
Assembly: Coolage; Pastiche; Bricolage; Homage; Fanfare; Idee Fixe; Fantasia; Impromptu; Reverie. (44.08)
Personnel: Jacob Garchik, trombone; Sam Newsome, soprano saxophone; Jacob Sacks, piano; Thomas Morgan, bass; Dan Weiss, drums.