Antonio J. García
¡Yo Soy Iorican!:
For four trombones and optional drum set.

Greeley, Colorado, United States
Publisher: UNC Jazz Press
Date of Publication: 2011

Score and parts.

Primary Genre: Jazz Material - ensemble
Secondary Genre: Trombone Ensembles - 4 trombones

The clever title is derived from a combination of Iowa and Puerto Rico heritages. Garcia explains, “The dominant rhythm in the piece is the authentic Afro-Cuban ‘abakwa’ feel and its related bell pattern delivered by trombones 1-3 over the bass line…” A 6/8 groove in E-flat dominant is written in 12/8 for ease of reading by the one bass and three tenor trombonists (or choir). Optional percussion include bongos, sticks, mallets, cowbell, cymbals, and possible drum set. A competent set player will enjoy the intricacy of the groove as well as the stop time moments for added dramatic effect. The bass trombonist will need to be steady and sure, as the chart is built upon the groove and repeated many times. Control of half steps in both slide technique and intonation is critical. Many figures are written in the pitfall area of slide noise on the same partial. Space is a fundamental aspect of this chart. Accompaniments are sparse, it is rare when all four parts simultaneously play, and during the solo section harmonies are implied in one beat with the other three oftentimes silent. Ensemble hits are rhythmically challenging and often counter to the bass line or melody. Effective use of aleatoric sounds and glissandi provide players opportunities to demonstrate without being intolerable. Interspersed in the chart are “stop-time quasi-chorale” sections with complex harmonies. The juxtaposition to the groove, as well as the effectual transition back to the groove, makes for engaging contrast. The solo section allows for one or more soloists, repeats, and other instruments.  Melody is shared among the top three parts and range does not exceed g1. Garcia does an excellent job providing stylistic narrative in the score. This is a terrific chart that will require diligent rehearsal to effectively perform.

Reviewer: David Stern
Review Published June 11, 2023