Cancer might seem an unlikely inspiration for jazz, but New York-based musician and composer Zac Greenberg is becoming known for avant-garde projects based on unusual subjects.
His latest creation, “Unexpected Journey,” will have its world premiere on Sunday, April 26, in Cincinnati, with proceeds to benefit the Barrett Cancer Center at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. The four-part composition will be performed for the first time in front of an audience at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout and will be recorded for a CD to be released later. Audience members will receive a copy of the CD at no extra charge.
“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 said. “This piece of music is a study into the human reaction in the face of unexpected unknowns and mortality.”
Greenberg’s involvement is as personal as it is creative. The concert and album are being spearheaded by his grandmother, Joyce Elkus, a Cincinnati marketing consultant and socialite, who has a long history of supporting the arts community. She came up with the idea after losing her husband, Dr. Fred Elkus and, later, her companion, Dr. Stanley Kaplan, to cancer. Joyce started a nonprofit organization in their memory called Musicians for Health, and hopes “Unexpected Journey” will be the first of many such projects to benefit a variety of medical institutions and charities.
“We want this to be an inspirational concert,” she said. “The composition was written in four parts: Life, Diagnosis, Treatment and Beyond.”
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. The concert will be performed by a quintet comprised of bass, drums, two guitars and a horn.
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.
In 2008 Greenberg and a group of friends founded the Almost Holden Collective (AHC), a multimedia recording studio and performance space in Santa Monica, California. Following “Unexpected Journey,” he plans to release, "Ijon Trichy and The Night Travellers," which he describes as a “horror album birthed from the nightmares dwelling in the inner child hiding in all of us.”
“Unexpected Journey” will be performed beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday, April 26, at The Redmoor, 3187 Linwood Avenue, Cincinnati, OH 45208. Also performing will be keyboardist Max Greenberg from the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music (CCM). Tickets are $100 each, and can be purchased online at https://www.regonline.com/musiciansforhealth or by calling 513-558-6342.Tickets may also be ordered by mail, by sending a check to: U.C. Foundations/Musicians for Health, P.O. Box 19970, Cincinnati, Ohio 45219-0970.Ticket purchases are tax deductible as allowed by law.
Information about Zac Greenberg is available at www.ZacGreenberg.com.
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