From Personal Journey to Artistic Conception: The Release of “Unexpected Journey”

Cancer is a big word, with big ramifications. It’s realistic to say that just about everyone in Cincinnati has probably been touched by cancer in some form or another during their lifetime, and it’s one of very few diseases for which this can be said.

Zac Greenberg, who lost two grandfathers to cancer, knows perhaps better than most the difficult journey that diagnosed individuals and their families have to go through. It was this journey that led him to create an original, four-movement arrangement called "An Unexpected Journey" for his band, The Zac Greenberg Quintet. The group, comprised of Greenberg on bass, Dave Engelhard on tenor saxophone, Kevin Wunderlich on guitar, Amos Rose on guitar and Bennett Eiferman on drums originally performed their concerto in April at The Redmoor in Mt. Lookout Square, with all proceeds from the night going to the University of Cincinnati Barrett Cancer Center. The event was backed by Musicians for Health a nonprofit organization that works to raise money for medical organizations.

The concerto itself is comprised of four different movements, each intimately delving into an array of emotions that come along with the steps of dealing with cancer: Life; Diagnosis; Treatment and Beyond.

The piece begins with soothing, peaceful rhythms during “Life” before “Diagnosis” changes the atmosphere to one of anxiety and fear. “Treatment” becomes a wilder ride, with a frenzied feeling that teeters on the edge of complete chaos, while “Beyond” brings with it a calming sense of optimism that leaves the listener wondering whether the end stems from survival or finding peace after death.  

“We wanted it to feel open ended, so that everyone could have their own experience with the piece,” says Greenberg.

During that first performance in April, the concerto was recorded. Now the band will perform again, this time at Urban Artifact, to celebrate the release of the album. Proceeds from the sales of the album will benefit a Susan G. Komen chapter of Greater Cincinnati, and the show is free to attend for all ages. The show is on Oct. 17 at 8:30 p.m., but guests who want to check out the concerto ahead of the show can purchase it on Amazon and in the iTunes shop today.

For more information about “Unexpected Journey”, The Zac Greenberg Quintet or Musicians for Health, visit their website.