Photo: S. van Kerkhoff, 2002

Russell and Gina Garcia
now live in Kerikeri New Zealand
You can reach them at:

 

Russell Garcia 2005 tribute by the L.A. Jazz Institute


Russell Garcia performed at a Jazz Festival Concert on May 23 and 24th 2003 at the Four Points Sheraton Hotel - LAX
(One concert with Strings and Buddy Childers,
and another with Big Band).
Click here for photos

Then in July he did a monster program with the
Phoenix Symphony.

Interview with Russell Garcia from Soundtrack magazine

Autograpghs available!

 

Russell Garcia was born in Oakland California on April 12, 1916. His family noticed that on Sunday mornings young Russell, only aged five, would wait in front of the radio to listen to the broadcast of the New York Philharmonic. One of Russell's four brothers gave him an old coronet with which Russell taught himself to play.

Russell has an extraordinary talent of listening to music and writing it down note for note, instrument for instrument and is also a self taught composer. "I've been able to read music since I was little," he says, "I don't know how, because I had lessons only when I went to high school. Call it instinct, call it a gift, I've never questioned my musical ability. I'm thankful for it. All I have to do is take up a sheet of manuscript paper and a pen and there's a whole orchestra playing in my head. At times I can't write quickly enough to keep up with what's flowing out of me."

Russell's break came when the composer/conductor of the radio show "This is America" became ill and was not able to perform. A friend of Russell suggested that he fill in. The director of the show, Ronald Reagan, was impressed with Russell's abilities and he continued on the program for two years. When the show closed down, Jane Wyman introduced Russell to NBC and he was hired on as a staff composer and arranger.


Photo: S. van Kerkhoff, 2002

Regarding finding work, Garcia says:
"It's always come to me. I do lead a charmed life."

For 15 years Russell worked for Universal Studios as composer, arranger and conductor.

In 1957 Russell joined up with Louis (Satchmo) Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald as their arranger/conductor for their recording of "Porgy And Bess" which is still a top selling album today. He did three more albums and a concert at the Hollywood Bowl with Louis Armstrong. His collaboration with Ella Fitzgerald resulted in a countless number of albums.

Russell Garcia has also collaborated with Mel Tormé, Margaret Whiting, and Stan Getz.

Russell Garcia and his wife Gina have been members of the Baha'i Faith since 1955. In 1966, at the height of his career, he decided to give it all away. They sold their home on Mulholand Drive and their possessions, bought a boat, and on June 1st set sail from the coast of Florida in their trimaran 'Dawn-breaker. The Garcia's believed it was their calling to carry the message of the Baha'i founder, Baha'u'llah, to the remote islands of the Pacific Ocean.

Neither Russell nor Gina knew anything about sailing and Gina didn't know how to swim, but that didn't deter them form their quest. Luck, however, was not on their side. The early arrival of hurricane Alma forced them to return after only two days at sea.

"It was depressing and embarrassing to return so ignominiously, especially after all those farewell parties, " says Garcia. "For a while we wondered if this meant we weren't to go. But when the calm followed the storm, we realized it was a test. Not many people have the chance to follow their hearts with no financial worries. We had the charm working for us: we knew the royalties I receive from films, television shows, records and the two books I've written would see us through quite comfortably for some years. And if there's one lesson we learnt from that first sailing, it was to respect the sea."

Alma's 70 mph winds and 40 foot waves had taken it's toll on the 'Dawn-breaker'. It was December before the boat was finally repaired and they set forth once again on their voyage. They reached Nassau without any further complications and spent several years as "travel-teachers" for the Baha'i. Among the exotic locations they visited were the Galapagos Islands, Haiti, Cuba, Jamaica, Tahiti and the Marquesas. When they reached Fiji in 1969, some musicians from Auckland, New Zealand invited Russell to do some live concerts, radio and television shows and to lecture at the various universitys around the country on behalf of the New Zealand Broadcasting Commission and Music Trades Association.

Russell, finished with his lectures and concerts and on advice of friends, sailed into Tangitu Bay in Auckland New Zealand. where he and Gina fell in love with the location and became permanent residents of New Zealand, where they still live today.

Some of Russell Garcia's accomplishments:

  • (....) I Lead a Charmed Life
  • (1955) Wigville
  • (1955) Four Horns and a Lush Life
  • (1956) On Four Horns and a Lush Wife
  • (1956) The Johnny Evergreens
  • (1957) The Warm Feeling
  • (1957) Porgy and Bess
  • (1957) Listen to the Music of Russell Garcia
  • (1959) Jazz Music for Birds and Hep Cats
  • (1959) Fantastica
  • (1959) The Time Machine (soundtrack)
  • (1961) Atlantis the Lost Continent (soundtrack)
  • (1979) Variations for Flugelhorn, String Quartet, Bass & Drums
  • (1986) Jazz Variations
  • (....)Light up the World with Love
  • (....)Sweet Scented Streams
  • (....)Dawn of a New Day
  • (2002) The Unquenchable Flame


ISBN# 0879611790
1987 /Naturegraph Publishers, Incorporated

Photo: S. van Kerkhoff, 2002 

Gina Garcia, an ASCAP singer-lyricist-writer has two published books, "The Adventures of Dawn-Breaker" and "Life Skills". She has also written and directed many musical and dramatic productions throughout the world.

 

 

Travel-Teaching Success Story:

"Many of the local villagers came to the classes which were held in a very large fale. On Saturday night, the Bahá'ís were having a fia fia (party, literally it means happy happy), when a Christian minister came in and shouted for us to stop the party. It was 10:00 p.m., curfew time. The chief of the village, who was really enjoying himself, got up and told the minister to go home. "This is a Bahá'í fia fia," he said, "and if we want, we'll go on all night." The minister was terribly angry and left. The next morning in his sermon, he attacked the Bahá'ís as people of the devil, "Who don't believe in God." That's where he made his mistake. Five of the villagers, who had been coming to classes, became Bahá'ís that day. The following week, the Bahá'ís in Apia got word that the next Sunday the minister had again attacked the Bahá'ís. During his sermon, he told his flock, "Any Bahá'í who comes into this village should be killed!" Almost immediately, there were enough new Bahá'ís to form a Local Spiritual Assembly."

[Gina Mauriello Garcia, Adventures of Dawn-Breaker, pp. 109-110.]

As members of the Baha'i Faith, they have dedicated their lives to building a happy peaceful world for the people of every race, religion, and country.

 

For those of you who have been trying to find a copy of Russell Garcia's Fantastica...

It is available on CD.
It can be purchased at:
Jack Diamond.com

 

The following can be purchased at: Cafe Annick
THE UNQUENCHABLE FLAME
(DOUBLE CD)
Composer-Conductor: Russell Garcia, ASCAP
Book and Lyrics: Gina Mauriello Garcia, ASCAP
LIGHT UP THE WORLD WITH LOVE (CD)
The Crimson Ark Singers
Produced by Gina and Russell Garcia
SWEET SCENTED STREAMS (CD)
The Crimson Ark Singers
Produced by Gina and Russell Garcia
DAWN OF A NEW DAY (CD)
New Era Symphony Orchestra and Choir
Composed and Conducted by Russell Garcia
LIFE SKILLS COURSE - (Book + Double CD)
by Gina and Russell Garcia

 

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