“A prime mover in the current Brooklyn jazz scene” (Time Out-New York) and “one of New York’s great jazz drummers and composers.” (Capital New York), Rob Garcia continues to be a strong presence in the New York and international jazz scene as a sideman and bandleader. He has performed and/or recorded with bandleaders such as Wynton Marsalis, Joseph Jarman, Anat Cohen, Kris Davis, Woody Allen, Howard Alden, Lynne Arriale, John Benitez, John Bunch, Dena DeRose, Chris Cheek, Daniel Kelly, The Ghost Train Orchestra and Vince Giordano. Rob has also collaborated with other top musicians and groups such as: Joe Lovano, Sheila Jordan, Dave Liebman, Diana Krall, Myra Melford, The Kronos Quartet, Ben Monder, Donny McCaslin, Marty Erhlich, Jerome Richardson, Reggie Workman, Bob Berg, Ken Peplowski, Scott Robinson, Howard Johnson, Sonny Fortune, Bruce Barth, Wycliffe Gordon and Chris Potter, among others. He has played on over 70 albums including Grammy winners.
Rob has released 7 critically acclaimed albums as a bandleader which feature such artists as Noah Preminger, Dan Tepfer, Gary Versace, Joe Martin, John Hebert, Dave Kikoski and Mike Formanek. His CD, “Perennial” (BJUR 012) was in the “10 Best Jazz Albums of 2009” in the New York Observer. His most recent album “Finding Love In An Oligarchy On A Dying Planet” (Brooklyn Jazz Underground Records) includes special guests jazz legend Joe Lovano and vocal sensation Kate McGarry. Rob also released a solo drums album called “Drum Solos For Dancers Only” in 2018, and he recently recorded a new album for Fresh Sound New Talent Records which will be released in December 2020. His group has performed at venues such as The Ottawa Jazz Festival, The Toronto Jazz Festival, Iridium, Kitano, Smalls, The Rex, Firehouse 12 and has toured in Europe. Rob has received grants from Meet The Composer, DCA and NYSCA to support his performances. He is also a member of the BMI Composer’s Workshop.
Rob has been a major force in artist-run organizations, a new way for jazz to continue and thrive. He is the founder and artistic director of a non-profit organization called Connection Works, which presents world-class jazz performances and educational events in Brooklyn. He is a member of the Brooklyn Jazz Underground, an association of independent artists with a shared commitment to creativity and community. He was also a founding member of the now defunct Douglass St Music Collective, an artist-run performance space, with some of New York’s most creative, cutting edge musicians.
Rob grew up in Pelham, New York, hearing a lot of jazz from the 1920’s and 30’s. His father had a collection of 78rpm records which included Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, and Bix Beiderbecke. In his early teens, Rob loved classic rock. It was Keith Moon of The Who that inspired him to begin playing the drums. He began studying with Bob Merigliano, and through his influence as well as visiting New York City jazz clubs with his father, Rob’s interest turned toward jazz. He then went on to study with some other outstanding drummers such as Charli Persip, Steve Davis, and Adam Nussbaum. Rob holds a BA from NYU and a MM from SUNY Purchase.
In addition, Rob has also studied and practiced holistic healing. He graduated from the IM School of Healing Arts, the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, and is a non- denominational ordained minister.