Beneath the gorgeously chaotic animated musical cover art on veteran guitarist Jorge Garcia’s dynamic and multi-faceted album Dedicated To You, we read the guitarist’s name “with Richie Cole” – which makes us think perhaps that the entire set features collaborations between the two old musical compadres, released as a loving and passionate tribute to Cole, who passed away in 2020.
That’s partially correct, as the emotional core of the seven track collection impacts immediately, with Cole’s fascinatingly festive, breakneck alto madness launching the tandem jam “Minority” before Garcia responds with equally zippy electric guitar improvisations. Garcia, a onetime member of Cole’s Alto Madness Orchestra and always the first call the saxman made, chose that gem and a second session he did with Cole circa 2009 – the bustling, intoxicating swinger “This One’s For Richie” – to commemorate their long term friendship and on and off collaborations.
But that’s it for Cole here, as Garcia felt that those two previously unreleased tracks were the best ones to use on a album whose larger vision, beyond the balmy mid-tempo “With You Always” featuring the trademark lilting harmonica of Hendrick Meurkens, is to is to showcase and pay homage to some of Garcia’s favorite South Florida musicians.
Yet even if the album has an all over the map quality to it, its individual tracks are all compelling in their own right – particularly the showstopping vocal of Wendy Peterson on a freewheeling flight “Over the Rainbow,” which, interestingly, features a 4-part harmony section she recorded on her own, surreptitiously.
Elsewhere, Garcia has a blast strutting his stuff while re-imagining “You Fascinate Me So” and “S’Wonderful” with pianist Paul Banman, bassist Jamie Ousley and alternating drummers John Yarling and James Cotman. Come to celebrate Cole, and stay to hear the crackling cool Garcia whips up with some of his favorite locals.