JazzTimes

TRUE TO THE SOUCE

The first thing you hear is a bright, asymmetrical, unison melody that’s repeated enough times to stay in your head. Then, suddenly, it’s tempered by a slinky hip-hop groove that grounds an equally decisive, opposing melodic line. “Lost Kingdoms,” the opening song on saxophonist and bandleader Nubya Garcia’s 2017 debut EP Nubya’s 5ive, is the rare jazz composition without words that you can still sing along to. Written, played, and recorded with superlative clarity and ease, “Kingdoms” has the punch of a pop single without any creative compromise. Its heft is obvious any time Garcia plays it live, as she did last year at New York’s (Le) Poisson Rouge while opening for Pharoah Sanders and Gary Bartz. Unlike the vast majority of contemporary jazz musicians, she could close her set with a recognizable hit that actually got the standing-room-only crowd moving.

That arresting tune club-regular diehards. Three years after (which is, thankfully for listeners, about the length of an early jazz LP) and another EP, 2018’s self-released , Garcia put out her official debut album via Concord Jazz in August.

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