Nubya Garcia, Fortify Review
by Icrom Bigrad
The latest single from Nubya Garcia, “Fortify,” shows Garcia’s evolving artistic journey. This composition is a sonic exploration of resilience, a thematic voyage through the chaos and harmony of life’s incessant ebbs and flows. With her acclaimed quartet—Daniel Casimir on double bass, Deschanel Gordon wielding the organ, piano, Rhodes, and Nord, and Sam Jones on drums—Garcia crafts a landscape where jazz’s past and future converge.
From the outset, “Fortify” challenges conventional jazz structures, weaving a polyrhythmic tapestry of rhythms with intricate, expansive harmony. Gordon’s shifting harmonic patterns lay a complex foundation that Casimir and Jones accentuate with a groove that’s both grounding and liberating. This groove, enriched by elements of hip-hop, Afro-Caribbean rhythms, and contemporary jazz, sets the stage for Garcia’s entrance. At the 44-second mark, her saxophone begins its narration, buzzing with an energy that is warm and compelling. The lyrical melody she develops is textured and follows the contours of layered rhythms and harmonic experiences.
The production, under the meticulous eye of Kwes, ensures that “Fortify” is a rewarding listening experience. Garcia’s use of reverb and delay on her saxophone during her solo does more than add an ethereal quality; it invites the listener into a space where the physical and spiritual boundaries blur. This track, Garcia’s first solo release since the critically acclaimed remix album SOURCE ⧺ WE MOVE, is a bold step forward from last year’s “Lean In.” It encapsulates the essence of Garcia’s musical identity, blending tradition with innovation.
Garcia’s remarks on the track offer a deeper insight into its purpose and inspiration. “’Fortify’ is more than a musical composition; it is a reflective practice, a method of seeking strength and protection amidst life’s tumult. It’s about identifying what needs safeguarding and creating sanctuaries for joy and release. This narrative is not just present in the music; it is the music.”
Garcia’s emergence as a beacon of London’s vibrant jazz scene is well documented through her music and her dynamic live performances across the globe. Garcia’s influence stretches far and wide, from sold-out shows in iconic venues to captivating appearances at major festivals. Her music, celebrated in the press and featured in television programs and games, transcends the traditional jazz audience, reaching listeners across diverse cultural landscapes.
“Fortify” is another successful milestone in Garcia’s career, a moment that captures the essence of her artistic evolution. It is a blend of electronica, hip-hop, Afro-Caribbean, and contemporary jazz, all held together by an outstanding quartet. Garcia’s modern jazz is built on her ability to weave complex rhythms and harmonies into a tapestry that resonates with the listener’s innermost search for peace and strength.