Zubatto Syndicate — Zubatto Syndicate
(Boscology BOS-SZ-001, 2011, CD)
by Jon Davis, Published 2014-05-19Progressive Big Band? Sure, why not? Composer Andrew Boscardin has assembled a large ensemble consisting of saxophones and brass along with clarinet (of standard and bass varieties), bassoon, oboe, flute, and a rhythm section, and takes his music into the territory near the crossroads of jazz, rock, and modern chamber music. At times, the listener may be reminded of movie soundtrack music, especially movies from the 70s, when filmmakers didn't all go for big orchestra or mainstream rock exclusively. The wonderful cover art depicts a wildly retro-futuristic city scene, with robots and aliens interacting with American cars of the 50s, and the sci-fi theme is carried through to the song titles: "The Trouble with Earth Women," "Mechas over Manhattan," and "A Brief History of Time Travel" are a few examples. Structurally, many of the pieces follow the familiar pattern of stating a melody, instrumental solos, and a return to the head to finish off, but there are many twists and turns along the way. Fans of Frank Zappa's instrumental music should find much to like, though Zappa's fussy rhythmic complexity isn't emulated. In short, Zubatto Syndicate may look like a Big Band, but the music isn't entirely jazz, and the quality of the composing, arranging, and playing merits attention from adventurous music fans.
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more
Krautrock Documentary Seeks Funding – The next installment of the Progressive Warriors documentary series will focus on the vast body of music that falls under the banner of "krautrock." As most of our readers will know, previous films have tackled RIO and the Canterbury scene, as well as what we might call "mainstream" prog rock. » Read more