Jazz covers of FM rock can be cringeworthy unless you do it right – and Jorge Garcia does it right. His take on Jimi Hendrix’s “Purple Haze” recalls the groove of ’70s releases from the CTI label, with killer guitar improv and a smokin’ electric-piano solo. A jazz version of Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog”? You bet – and Garcia nails it with a cool harmonized riff, soulful tone, and funky 6/8 drum pattern.
The innate swing of Jethro Tull’s “Living in the Past” morphs into a George Benson vibe in Jorge’s capable hands. His improvisation is rich, complex, and emotive. Yes’ 1972 smash “Roundabout” was famous for its Squire/Bruford groove and here, Garcia brings out that Afro-Cuban energy with a dash of Motown in the soul-jazz pocket, á la Pat Martino, Grant Green, or Eric Gale. Also check out Nicky Orta’s walking bass and wicked solos.
One surprise is a sweetly grooving version of the Beatles’ “Blackbird.” We’ve noted before how conducive Lennon/McCartney songs are to jazz, thanks to their innate harmony; here, Garcia turns the 1968 gem into effortless, Metheny-tinged fusion.
Grab Crossover without giving it a second thought. It’s a classic-rock archtop cooker.
This article originally appeared in VG’s May 2021 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.