Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians
Garcia, Alex (Alejandro Andres)
Garcia, Alex (Alejandro Andres), drummer, composer; b. Santiago, Chile, 1 September 1966. His mother Hilda Riveros Wainstein, born Nov 11th, 1936, was a dancer, choreographer and educator. His father, Fernando Garcia Arancibia, born July 4th, 1930, was a contemporary composer, musicologist, writer, and educator, awarded the 2002 Chilean National Award for the Arts. He has one brother, Leonardo Garcia, born May 27th, 1971. Alex is married to Marina Gutierrez-Alea since January 19th of 1999.
In 1973, at the age of 7, after the military coup, Alejandro left Chile to Peroe along with his family, they lived in Lima from 1973 to 1979. At the age of 13 he moved with his family to La Habana, Cuba. At the age of 17 he decided to study music. His first music teacher was his own father who taught him the basics. Recommended by one of his father's best friend, musician-arranger Felix Guerrero, Alex joined "Ignacio Cervantes" School of Music in 1983 and studied drum-set with legendary drummer, 1979 Grammy winner Enrique Pla, from Irakere. Before Alex graduated in 1989, he played with several singer songwriters such as Donato Poveda and Vicente Felioe. He performed in a music documentary for Escuela Internacional de Cine y TV. In 1986 he worked as co-composer and drummer of "Pavana para una Infanta Difunta" choreography by Hilda Riveros, for Ballet Nacional de Cuba. In 1987, he recorded music for a documentary with singer songwriter Carlos Varela. In late 1989, after a tour with Donato Poveda to Islas Canarias (Spain) and after 16 years out of Chile, the family decided to return to Santiago.
In Santiago, Chile, he started playing and recording with jazz, jazz-rock, salsa and latin-rock local bands. He participated in several national and international jazz festivals. He worked in TV and theater as well as composing music for documentaries. In 1993 he composed the music for "Tiempo de Percusion," choreography by Hilda Riveros for Ballet del Teatro Municipal de Santiago, which toured extensively through Latin America and Europe. He also performed as a clinician in several music schools in the capital.
In 1996 he moved to New York City where he started playing with local musicians and bands in New Jersey and New York. Capable of incorporating Afro-Cuban and Latin American rhythms into the Jazz idiom, Alex works in a variety of musical genres from Pop to Rock, Theater to Jazz. Some of his major performance accomplishments in NYC include working with Grammy nominated Cuban trombonist and composer Juan Pablo Torres, Grammy nominated singer/songwriter Juan Carlos Formell, master trombonist Chris Washburn & Syotos, Cuban legend Meme Solis, Los Van Van's former vocalist Israel Kantor, and master Puerto Rican tresero Nelson Gonzalez, among many others.
In 1998, he founded the band AfroMantra, recording at the end of 1999 their first CD, "Latin Jazz Ensemble" and releasing it independently in the year 2000. It obtained very good reviews in several specialized web sites such as latinjazznet.com, jazzreview.com and indie-music.com. At the end of 2001 Alex signed a recording contract with the Indie Label Mambo Maniacs Records and in the first half of 2002 they record their second CD "Alignment" to be released in spring of 2003. AfroMantra is also referred in the book Caliente "Una historia de Jazz latino" by Belgian-American author Luc Delannoy, as one of the emerging Latin jazz ensembles in the present Latin jazz scene. Along with his performances as a leader with his band AfroMantra, Alex has remained active as a freelance drummer in NYC and increasingly as a composer in AfroMantra.