Jacob Garchik

Clear Line
Yestereve Records 06

Drawing on jazz big band section work, European village marching bands and notated music for winds, composer/conductor Jacob Garchik has composed nine POMO interludes for four trumpets, four trombones and three saxophones. Eschewing a rhythm section and string sweetening, he endows the compositions with coordinated horn work for rhythmic impetus and savory harmonies, while leaving space for creative soloing.

At the same time with blustery brass and popping reeds often emphasized to create contrapuntal backing, individual’s features are short but to-the-point. Besides brief mood setting sequences, extended tracks highlight different strategies from Fusion-referencing brassy horn expositions to enough key percussion that suggest bagpipe-blowing tremolos. “Moebius and Mucha” is the most overt swinger with bugle-bright trumpet work cutting across sliding connections from the other horns. Meanwhile “Sixth” is a quasi-rondo that subverts its mellow form with colorful upwards movements that encompasses brass and reed call-and-response before textures meld into a stop-time climax.

Garchik draws on the skills of some of New York’s top younger talents like saxophonist Anna Webber and Kevin Sun and trumpeters Jonathan Finlayson and Adam O’Farrill. But with frequently displayed gorgeous harmonies, as highlighted on the concluding “Clear Line”, this is a suite of well-paced originals that stroll rather than gallop. This is also profound group music that makes its points through subtlety not showiness.

-for The Whole Note February 2021