Zac Greenberg Releases Cancer-Inspired Album 'Unexpected Journey'

By: Sep. 26, 2015

Musician and composer Zac Greenberg has never had cancer, but he has seen the effects of it, having lost two grandfathers to the disease. Their ordeals inspired his new album "Unexpected Journey" (Almost Holden Records), a jazz-rock fusion concerto written in four movements: "Life," "Diagnosis," "Treatment" and "Beyond."

"Every cancer patient's experience is different, but there are similarities among them," Greenberg said. "This album tells a story that most patients can relate to, in terms of what they go through, with diagnosis and treatment."

The album is a recording of a live performance that occurred during a cancer fundraiser organized by Musicians for Health, a Cincinnati-based organization, which also produced the album. Performing on the album with Greenberg, who plays bass, are fellow New Yorkers Dave Engelhard (tenor sax), who is known for his work with the Zac Brown Band; Kevin Wunderlich (guitar); Amos Rose (guitar); and Bennett Eiferman (drums).

"Unexpected Journey" begins with a serene melody representing normal life, before exploding in a cacophony of discordant tenor sax and electric guitar riffs and licks. The sudden clash of musical styles is shocking, like a cancer diagnosis. As the music progresses, its rhythm becomes more cohesive and steady, as the patient settles into a routine. Then, it gradually speeds up, symbolizing a growing impatience with the monotony and discomfort of treatments. (See

Before composing "Unexpected Journey," Greenberg spent several weeks meeting with doctors and cancer survivors in Cincinnati, where his grandfathers lived.

"One of the things I heard echoing through all of my cancer research was how quickly and unexpectedly patients' lives change, once they are diagnosed," Greenberg said. "This piece of music is a study into the human reaction in the face of unexpected unknowns and mortality."

"Unexpected Journey" is available on CD Baby at and other digital outlets. A portion of the proceeds will benefit cancer-related charities, including Susan G. Komen during October, National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Zac Greenberg will perform an album-release concert at Urban Artifact, 1660 Blue Rock St, Cincinnati, Ohio 45223, on Saturday, October 17, beginning at 8:00 p.m. No cover charge. All ages admitted. For information, call 513-620-4729 or visit

Information about Zac Greenberg is available at


Twitter: @Zac_Greenberg 513-607-7026


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