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Garcia Peoples go for it

Last updated on April 1, 2020

I feel like I’m infringing on Lisa’s territory here, but the 49-minute version of “One Step Behind” that comprises all but 8:27 of Garcia Peoples10​-​10​-​2019 Nublu, NYC release is so brain-bendingly good that I had to step briefly into the jam band territory. Jam is equally about vibe and interplay, and if you can nail both, then you’ve got gold. Garcia Peoples not only nail both, but they do it with a guest saxophonist (renowned jazz hand–and guitarist Tom Malach’s father–Bob Malach). It is an incredibly high level of difficulty: a massively blown-out version of a track with a guest. And yet they just have a total, full-on blast with it. That enthusiasm translates to the recording seamlessly.

Part of the great thing of this mega-track is that they truly do jam on it. They don’t just guitar-solo forever; they explore it. After introducing the themes, they strip it down to the almost-silent studs at 13:13, creating a mysterious jazz moment. It gets really funky, with a heavy psychedelic groove around 20:00, before snapping to attention in an almost major-key indie-rock format for a few minutes to deliver the vocals of the song around 23:00. A full-on, driving, wide-open jam session led by searing organ comes in around 34 minutes, which is really the core of this version–the elder Malach just goes bonkers on the sax and sells the whole work. So fantastic.

There’s also an 8:27 version of “Show Your Troubles Out,” which is impressive in its own right; a nearly 9-minute jam would be the centerpiece of a lot of records. But not here. If you’re in for some good vibes, incredibly tight interplay, and wide-ranging ideas on a single theme, you’ve gotta check out this live recording. It’s impressive.