Cancer might seem an unlikely inspiration for an album, but New York-based musician and composer Zac Greenberg is becoming known for avant-garde projects based on unusual subjects.
His latest project, “Unexpected Journey,” featuring the Zac Greenberg Quintet, was inspired by cancer. With four movements-- “Life,” “Diagnosis,” “Treatment” and “Beyond"-- it is a musical depiction of the challenges faced by many cancer patients. Having lost two grandfathers to the disease, Greenberg wanted to write something in their memory. He spent several weeks in Cincinnati, interviewing cancer patients, doctors and caregivers.
“One of the things I heard echoing through all of my cancer research was how quickly and unexpectedly patients’ lives change, once they are diagnosed,” Greenberg says. “This music is a study into the human reaction in the face of unexpected unknowns and mortality.”
“Unexpected Journey” was first suggested by Greenberg’s grandmother, Joyce Elkus, who founded Musicians for Health, which supports health-related organizations through music. The premier performance took place last April as a benefit for the Barrett Cancer Center at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The album “Unexpected Journey” is a recording of that concert.
Performing on the album are Zac Greenberg on bass, David Engelhard on tenor saxophone, Amos Rose on guitar, Kevin Wunderlich on guitar, and Bennett Eiferman on drums.
Greenberg’s music defies simple categorization. He describes “Unexpected Journey” as rooted in jazz, while also drawing heavily from rock, metal, country, folk, classical and other musical genres.
Greenberg, who often 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. His uncle, Jason Greenberg, worked with the band Hot Tuna.
The “Unexpected Journey” album release concert will take place at Urban Artifact, 1662 Blue Rock Street, Cincinnati, Ohio 45223 on Saturday, October 17, 2015, starting at 8:00 p.m. No cover. All ages admitted.
"Unexpected Journey" is available on CD Baby at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/zacgreenberg
Information about Zac Greenberg is available at www.ZacGreenberg.com. Information about Musicians for Health is available at www.MusiciansForHealth.net.
This band isn't local to Cincinnati.