Zac Greenberg | Unexpected Journey

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Jazz: Jazz Fusion Rock: Avant-Prog Moods: Instrumental
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Unexpected Journey

by Zac Greenberg

A blistering jazz-rock fusion concerto inspired by cancer, dedicated to patients and the medical professionals who care for them.
Genre: Jazz: Jazz Fusion
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Movement 1: Life
4:49 album only
2. Movement 2: Diagnosis
11:02 album only
3. Movement 3: Treatment
6:09 album only
4. Movement 4: Beyond
11:57 album only
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
“Unexpected Journey” is a musical and visual study into an individual’s journey with cancer. To better understand our journey, the composition has been divided into four movements: Life, Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond. In the original staging of this piece each movement was paired with color and light to create an atmosphere for the audience to experience or protagonists Unexpected Journey through cancer.

The instrumentation chosen for this piece was chosen as a representation of a patient. Each instrument takes on a characteristic from the internal war of cancer.

Tenor Sax: consciousness
Bass and Drums: The Body
Guitars: Cancer
(It is not strictly this way throughout, but the basis for which the parts are written.)

Movement one is light, uplifting and moves along with very little conflict. The protagonist is going about his daily life, enjoying all that comes with it. In the original staging, this movement was paired with variations of green and yellow light to represent the sun, nature and beauty of life.

MOVEMENT 2 : DIAGNOSIS This movement is divided into three phases.
Phase 1 is the initial shock of the cancer diagnosis, with each instrument representing a different stream of consciousness. The different voices in the patient’s mind struggle to find some sort of understanding. This phase was paired with chaotic flashing lights transitioning into purple. Phase 2 A bass line begins to emerge. The purple gets brighter and brighter. This brings us to the phase of diagnosis where our protagonist confronts his problem. The patient begins to have a conversation with his doctor concerning the options and what the best course of action might be. Phase 3 As this conversation comes to an end, the patient is again left to his own thoughts. The purple around the stage became darker and darker as the protagonist began to accept his own mortality.

Movement 3 is from the perspective of the protagonist receiving his first chemo treatment. The guitars play an angular monotonous line as the patient sits in a chair, mindlessly staring into nothingness. The patient tries not to think of the existing situation. The drums and bass pound loudly. These instruments represent the doctors boisterously walking through the halls and then attaching the IV to begin the first round of chemo drip. As the patient gazes into the neon red bag attached to his veins, the doctors are overheard referring to the chemo as “the Red Devil.” The drip begins and so does the journey through treatment. This experience was represented by red lights during the live recording session.

In the final movement, the brave protagonist is in remission. He reflects on the journey he has gone through. He contemplates where the path will lead next. The previous movements have a strong story line which provides a common ground for the entire audience to explore together. This movement, however, is written unresolved and open, requiring a different level of interaction from the listener. Where the journey ends will be different for each individual who travels it. Just as everyone’s experience with cancer is different at some point, either for the entire journey or just a movement, the path will be walked alone. Black and white lighting was used in this movement originally.

The premiere performance of “Unexpected Journey” took place before a live audience at a cancer benefit in Cincinnati, Ohio, where Greenberg’s grandfathers lived. This album is a recording of that performance, engineered and mixed by Jason Greenberg, who has worked with such artists as Hot Tuna, Buster Poindexter, Ana Popovic, Tangiers Blues Band and more.
Performing on “Unexpected Journey” are Zac Greenberg (bass), Kevin Wunderlich (guitar); Amos Rose (guitar); and Bennett Eiferman (drums) and Dave Engelhard (tenor sax), who has worked with the Zac Brown Band.

Greenberg, who sometimes performs under the stage name Ijon Trichy, received his training at the prestigious Idyllwild Arts Academy in California and, later, the University of North Carolina Wilmington and New York University. He has studied under such well-known musicians as Jack Casady, Jorma Kaukonen, Stanley Clarke and Drew Gress.



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