Christopher Garcia - drumset, tabla, kanjira, olla, Paiste Cymbals, percussion
Alfred Garcia - electric fretted and fretless bass guitar
Craig Ochikubo - keyboard synthesizers, piano
Damon Zick - soprano saxophone, alto saxophone, & tenor saxophone
What originally started as a rehearsal band in 1987 in East Los
Angeles, has evolved into one of the most original voices in
contemporary improvisational music today. Utilizing (and transcending)
their considerable skills the group has evolved "organically" over the
last few years building a repertoire rich in influences and directions.
Whether playing fatback funk, odd-time pieces, standards(?) or
open-ended improvisations the group has an easily identifiable sound..
"Our strength is our diversity" says drummer and spokesperson for the group Christopher Garcia, "you won't find a more different group of people, culturally or musically, playing in a band - and we're proud to say we are a band". While other ensembles change personnel and 'plug people in the way you change socks' CONTINUUM has never played a gig using a sub, even though their individual schedules have become increasingly hectic. "Being a band is a whole different head, a whole different commitment and responsibility" something you find less and less of today. "It's only because we are a band that we're able to pull off certain tunes and give the music the respect it deserves, which means we can play what we want, when we want, and not have to worry about the notes," which has been a problem for some critics and most record labels. "We received so many rejection notices asking us to dump specific kinds of tunes and do more 'groove tunes', or the band would be great if 'you just played acoustic instruments and dumped that electronic stuff.' But one thing we've never done is compromise our music by underestimating the intelligence of an audience". And it seems their audience has been listening, and growing intently.
"We feel people are hip enough to go through the changes we put them through without getting violent about it.(!) I always wanted to be in a band with the depth of someone like Mingus, John McLaughlin, Oregon, or Weather Report - a band that can rip your head off one minute, then turn around and play a ballad with just as much conviction. A lot of groups get stuck thinking they have to turn it up and beat their chest all the time. I feel a lot of spirituality and intent has been lost in folks learning their instrument and forgetting what it was that they thought wanted to say in the first place."
Though the group has recently been described as a fusion band in various reviews they refuse to be pigeonholed by such references. "Now I understand why Mingus didn't want his music to be called jazz, but Mingus' music. We draw from so many wells that we've grown up with that our repertoire feels very natural for us. We don't play something because we're eclectic. We do it because we play what he hear. I doubt very much that folks who come out to see us say 'Let's go see that fusion band, or contemporary improvisational ensemble - they probably say Let's see what CONTINUUM's up to.'
Whether tearing it up, or laying it down, grooving in 21/8, or 4/4, playing a Monk tune or an original composition CONTINUUM continues to grow and confound.