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Garza / Fawcett / Wojtowicz: Moab


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Garza / Fawcett / Wojtowicz: Moab
The album title is Moab. It comes out of Chicago, created by the trio of guitarist John Garza, bassist Peter Wojtowicz and drummer Jacob Fawcett. For those with a sketchy knowledge of ancient history, the Kingdom of Moab, established in 1300 BCE and lasting until 400 BCE, was located in what is now southern Jordan, on the eastern shore of the Dead Sea. The album Moab may have no connection to this. Information on the album and guitarist Garza is sparse even on this day of the internet. So be it.

But then there is nothing like email to clear up ruminations concerning connections between ancient empires and 21st-century jazz. In response to a query concerning the music's relationship to the Kingdom of Moab, John Garza replies: "It does (have a connection), in an indirect way. The initial theme of Moab was a reflection on Moab in Utah—a place that is both beautiful and majestic, but which also has some darker underpinnings, i.e. nuclear testing back in the middle 20th century, the displacement of some native peoples. I became sensitive to this largely as a result of Jacob Fawcett, our drummer who is Native American. And, as we continued to think about it, there is a similar 'displacement' history in the Middle Eastern Kingdom of Moab."

With that cleared up, "Bloom Late" opens the show with Garza's guitar sounding metallically resonant, the way that bluesman John Lee Hooker's sounds. Garza's trio is distinctively interactive, rolling with an "equality of input" state of mind. The contemplative composition sets the stage for the cohesive listening experience that follows.

"Bogart" features ringing chords over a rhythmic shuffle. The effect is one of a Zen-like inevitability of the tune's unfolding, with Garza moving into a Frank Zappa-esque single-note noodling. At the same time "Wrong Room" settles into a groove-less suspension of time, and the title tune sounds like a peaceful-yet-relentless march. Maybe the Kingdom of Moab is moving toward a territorial acquisition. Or maybe not. Who knows?

"Throwness" wanders. The trio seems to be immersed in a mind meld. How long have they played together? The internet is not talking.

"Sonder (a chance at)" closes out the well-crafted show. It feels like a rebuttal to the ominous "Rumble," Link Wray's 1958 hit tune. It wraps things up with a statement of acceptance and peace rather than the imminent street fight vibe that Wray laid down all those years ago.

Track Listing

Bloom Late; Bogart; Wrong Room; Moab; Thrownness; Sonder (a chance at).


Album information

Title: Moab | Year Released: 2024 | Record Label: Self-Produced

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