"Exuberant, virtuosic, and light-spirited….the Four bags make
smart music with a quiet, joyful intensity” (The New Republic)
Combining the vibrancy of modern jazz and popular music with the sophistication of a classical chamber group, The Four Bags features a captivating blend of Trombone (Brian Drye), Accordion (Jacob Garchik), Guitar (Sean Moran) and Woodwinds (Mike McGinnis). Each member brings a distinct compositional voice to the ensemble, creating a body of work with an astonishing array of tonal colors. In addition to mind-bending improvisations and fresh originals, The Four Bags draw from a diverse collection of music from Arnold Schoenberg to the Beastie Boys in a way that is "wonderfully difficult to define, easy to enjoy." (David Garland, WNYC)
Based in New York City since 1999, The Four Bags have been featured at the "Next Next" festival at BAM, "Celebrate Brooklyn!" festival in Prospect Park, the Wall to Wall Joni Mitchell Marathon at Symphony Space, a tribute to Burt Bacharach in the Allen Room at Jazz at Lincoln Center, The Friends of Alec Wilder Concert at St. Peter's Church, and regular appearances at many NYC Clubs including Barbes, Cornelia St. Cafe, and The Bowery Poetry Club. They’ve also backed up singers Jackie Cain (of “Jackie and Roy”), David Garland, and Judith Berkson. In 2002, The Bags travelled to Japan for the Konnichiwa Festa!, appearing at contemporary music venues, schools, festival stages, and NHK national television with dancer Aki Sato.
The Four Bags have performed live on the WNYC shows "Spinning on Air", "Sound Check" and "New Sounds". Their new CD, “Forth” (2011) features a collection of originals as well as their spin on music from Iran, Brazil, and French electronica. It follows three critically acclaimed CDs, “Live at Barbes (2006), “Offshore” (2004) and “The Four Bags” (2001) on NCM East Records.
Woodwind specialist Michael McGinnis has worked with Anthony Braxton’s Trillium E Orchestra, Steve Coleman, Lonnie Plaxico, Stew & Heidi’s the Negro Problem, Fela! On Broadway, Art Lande, Yo La Tengo, Steve Swallow, Jackie Cain, Ravi Coltrane, Alice Coltrane, Martin Kersels (Whitney Biennial 2009), and the Losers Lounge. Mike has performed extensively in the United States and internationally including Japan, Turkey, France, Italy, Bosnia, Switzerland, Mexico, Canada, Austria and his performances and compositions have been featured on WNYC, VH1, ABC, MTV, The Daily Show and HBO. You can see him playing the flute in the Ang Lee film “Taking Woodstock” (2009).
Accordionist, trombonist and composer Jacob Garchik, born in San Francisco, has lived in New York since 1994. He’s played trombone with the Lee Konitz Nonet, Steve Swallow, the John Hollenbeck Large Ensemble, and Slavic Soul Party. Jacob has also contributed dozens of arrangements and transcriptions for the Kronos Quartet of music from all over the world. His arrangements were featured on “Floodplain” (2009) and “Rainbow”(2010), with Alim Qasimov from Azerbaijan. Jacob has worked with many of the luminaries of the avant-garde, including Anthony Braxton, Anthony Coleman, Joe Maneri, Frank London, James Tenney, Josh Roseman, Don Byron, Terry Reilly, George Lewis, and Billy Martin. He has also played in ensembles led by rising artists such as Mary Halvorson, Judith Berkson, Dan Weiss, Jacob Sacks, Miles Okazaki, and Steve Lehman. He co-leads NYC’s only Mexican brass band, Banda de los Muertos.
Guitarist and composer Sean Moran has performed throughout Japan, Europe, and the U.S. His music has been performed on WNYC, Japanese television station NHK and at Merkin Concert hall. His groups Bassoon and Small Elephant are pioneers in the intersection of math metal, modern classical chamber music and free jazz. Sean makes his home in the fertile creative music scene of Brooklyn, NY, where he can be heard performing with Briggan Krauss, Daniel Carter, Pamelia Kurstin, Earl McIntyre and Ed Schuller. He has worked Steve Wilson, The Virginia Symphony Orchestra, Teo Macero, One Ring Zero, and with vocalists Jackie Cain and Rene Marie, among others.
Brooklyn-based trombonist Brian Drye has toured Japan, Europe and throughout the US. Ben Ratliff of the New York Times called his record “Bizingas" “one of the best introductions to a new band that I’ve heard lately”. He’s played jazz with Clark Terry, John Hollenbeck, Kirk Knuffke, Andrew D'angelo, Oscar Noriega and Mark Helias. He has also lent his unique trombone voice to groups as diverse as The Brooklyn Qawwali Party, Slavic Soul Party, Banda de los Muertos, Firewater, Frank London, The Tommy Dorsey Orchestra, The Four Tops, Dianne Schuur and Joan Baez. Brian created the performance space Ibeam Brooklyn which presents improvisors from NYC and beyond.
"The instrumental palette of this collaborative quartet - trombone, accordion, guitar and reeds - creates the impression of a contemporary chamber jazz; so does the repertory, which includes arrangements of Chopin and Brian Wilson, along with thoughtful original compositions."
– The New York Times
"Trombone, accordion, guitar, and saxophone might not seem like your idea of a good time, but if that's the case, you haven't caught a set by The Four Bags."
– Timeout, New York
"Continuing in their previous vein, but with all new
material, this current offering immediately hits home
with enchanting precision, wonderfully unique
voicings and advanced compositions."
– Elliott Simon, All About Jazz
“The group’s music is intelligent and challenging without alienating the listener or being anything less than fun.”
– Casco Bay Weekly, Portland, ME
“. . . smart without being stuffy, fun without being crass, and highly listenable.”
– Richard Kamins, The Hartford Courant
“Using material with a melodic center, the four artists spin a sensitive weave as they intertwine the instruments in close interplay…” “…delightfully lyrical set with solid playing and occasional humor. It all seems to work just fine.”
– Cadence Magazine
“. . . cinematic, textured jazz with a heavy dose of humor. . . ”
– Seven Days, Burlington, VT
“The band's music derives from humanity's never-ending efforts to make weirder and weirder music. The Four Bags stretches jazz to its limits...”
– Casco Bay Weekly, Portland, ME
“. . . a wonderful little band indeed. These four gentlemen create some absolutely wonderful mind-bending music that is provocative and intriguing.”
“The Four Bags maintain nice melodic lines, strong compositional direction and stay on purpose without becoming predictable.”
– Ben Monaghan, Portland Press Herald, Portland, ME